The Federal Government Wants to Stop Smartphone Usage in Prisons


Ottawa wants to cease the use of cellphones and smartphones in prisons, and has consulted with companies on how to stop wireless devices from entering jails as some criminals still run their operations behind bars, according to the CBC::

“Though this prohibition is rigidly enforced, upon occasion, mobile devices are recovered by correctional officers from inmates within an institution,” says a notice posted Tuesday on a government contracts website.

“It is, therefore, of significant importance for [the Correctional Service of Canada] to develop an effective and sustainable method of preventing the use of mobile devices by inmates in support of its public safety mandate. To that end, CSC seeks a solution to impede the use of contraband mobile devices within the confines of correctional institutions across Canada.”

The report notes American prisons are dealing with the problem of smuggled cellphones and smartphones which have become the new ‘drugs and tobacco’. The FBI reports of one corrupt correctional officer earning over $100,000 by charging inmates $100-400 per device, with prisoners charging up to $50US for a phone call. Now that’s almost as bad as a long distance call in Canada.

The government wants to know if there is technology that would turn off prisoner’s cellphones or eliminate a silent ringer so guards could detect them easier. Wait, what?

Signal jammers are a possibility but opposition to the idea is because they block emergency calls. You know what would eliminate cellphones in jails? Just take away all the power outlets and your problem would be solved. Then they would have to deal with battery smuggling.

What’s the best way to remove cellphones from prisons in Canada? It is even possible?

[via the CBC]


  • FedoraNetworks

    Build faraday cages into the walls of the cells, change outlets in cells to a proprietary standard so that they can’t plug in.

  • my2cents

    have a monitoring device that will inform officers that there is such device then find it (triangulation).
    Jammers concern about emergency call? remmeber.. they are in prison … being watched etc. so why the hell would you let them make “emergency calls” ?
    another option: more stringent detection of inbound stuff / people (including staff). 2 birds with the same stone they say… n more drug, no more .. everything prohibited for the “customers” of theses high paid “hotels”

  • Prailor

    When i saw this post i just had to say something.
    I am a correctional officer, though the issues is small at the moment i have found increasing number of cell phone within the building. most are filtered out when the inmate enters the system, but some get though by mean that will not be mentioned here, or corrupt officer, who also charge or bring in charged batteries. As for outlets, majority of places do not have access to them. For example in one unit there is only 1 outlet that is active and it is used for the tv and is easily shut off. Outlets have been delt with because there are a greater threat as inmate use them to make fires.Triangulation would be amazing, though considering that correction are like the forgotten faction of law enforcement, there wouldnt be funding for that, jammers would be more idealistic.
    Emergency calls??? they are watched all the time and do have access to phones(recorded), even yelling at another inmate creates enough attention to attract officers.
    Smuggling in is the threat and mentioned about it does happen, they pack it and strip searches often come up empty.

  • Simple solution would be a special cell tower just for the prison, kinda like those signal boosting units AT&T sell in the US. Program it to accept the guards cell phones and ignore/track the prisoners cells. (could even let them through and record everything said/browsed if you want)