Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley visited the Baltimore City Detention Center Feb. 7 to unveil new measures aimed at curbing illicit cell phone use by inmates at the prison
The new “Managed Access” technology will block illegal and unauthorized calls within the facility’s walls in an attempt to prevent inmates from orchestrating illegal activity.
“For the last seven years, our administration has worked to put Maryland on the front lines of the national fight against contraband cell phones,” O’Malley said in a statement. “This technology arms our dedicated correctional staff with additional tools they need to crack down on cell phones in our facilities, protect integrity and ensure the safety and security of our correctional system.”
The unveiling of the new technology comes after sweeping indictments last year against 44 individuals, including 27 corrections officers, for a bevy of crimes including conspiring to run Baltimore’s Black Guerilla Family gang inside prison walls, to possession of and conspiracy to distribute drugs.
More than a dozen of the accused have pleaded guilty for their role in racketeering, conducting sexual relationships between guards and inmates, extorting protection money, and providing inmates with cell phones.
The Managed Access technology is the work of the Maryland-based company, Tecore, and will automatically differentiate between authorized and unauthorized calls. Any cell phone within the confines of the center will still be able to call 911, and the process of “jamming” cell phone signals inside the building requires no active monitoring by the jail’s staff.
The move is just one part of a wider crackdown on the use of cell phones in jails, which has included K-9 units trained to find cell phones, $1.1 million in technology to screen those entering the prison and the introduction of bills to toughen laws against those peddling or using cell phones behind bars.