In recent years, the use of contraband wireless devices by inmates in correctional facilities across the country has grown rapidly.  Inmates use these devices to commit additional criminal acts from behind bars, such as ordering hits, running drug operations, and operating phone scams.  Use of contraband wireless devices is a serious threat to the safety and welfare of correctional facility employees, other inmates, and innocent members of the public.

The Commission has coordinated with other government agencies, members of the public safety community, and private industry to outline the various technological solutions that can be used to combat contraband cellphone use in prisons and identify regulatory reforms that could make it easier to deploy them.

CONTRABAND INTERDICTION SYSTEMS

Some correctional facilities have implemented radio-based technologies to detect and block the use of contraband wireless devices located inside their facilities.  These technologies, called Contraband Interdiction Systems (CISs), require FCC authorization and fall primarily into two categories: managed access and detection.  A managed access system is a micro-cellular, private network that typically operates on spectrum already licensed to commercial wireless providers and is able to determine whether a device is authorized or unauthorized by the correctional facility, before passing a call or message on to wireless carrier networks.  Detection systems are used to detect devices within a correctional facility by locating, tracking, and identifying radio signals originating from a device.  By analyzing patterns of the data they collect, detection systems are able to identify contraband wireless device use in prisons.
 

PROMOTING TECHNOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS TO COMBAT CONTRABAND WIRELESS DEVICE USE IN CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES
(R&O and FNPRM) - March 23, 2017

RULEMAKING

NEWS RELEASE
FCC Acts to Promote Public Safety by Curbing Prison Inmates’ Use of Contraband Wireless Devices

PROMOTING TECHNOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS TO COMBAT CONTRABAND WIRELESS DEVICE USE IN CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES
(NPRM) - May 1, 2013

RULEMAKING

FEDERAL REGISTER

NPRM Publication

EVENT

Commissioner Pai’s Field Hearing on Contraband Cellphones – April 6, 2016
Chairman Pai held a field hearing in Columbia, SC, hosted by then-Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley, to shed additional light on the public safety threat posed by inmates’ use of contraband cellphones, as well as steps the FCC can take to help law enforcement combat the problem.

SPEECH

Remarks of Commissioner Pai at the Field Hearing on Contraband Cellphones – April 6, 2016 (Video)
Remarks of Commissioner Pai at the Field Hearing on Contraband Cellphones – April 6, 2016 (Transcript)

REPORT

NTIA Report – Contraband Cell Phones in Prisons: Possible Wireless Technology Solutions – Dec. 29, 2010
At Congress's direction, NTIA, in coordination with the FCC, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), identified and evaluated several technology solutions that can be used in a prison environment, including managed access and detection techniques.  This report presents a comprehensive overview and evaluation of those technologies.

EVENT

Workshop/Webinar on Contraband Cell Phone Use in Prisons – Sept. 30, 2010
The FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, in partnership with the National Institute of Justice and the Association of State Correctional Administrators, held a workshop/webinar to discuss methods for combating the use of contraband cell phones in prisons.

OMBUDSPERSON

In order to assist CIS operators and CMRS licensees in complying with their regulatory obligations, the Commission designated by Public Notice a single point of contact to serve as the ombudsperson on contraband wireless device issues.  The ombudsperson will primarily provide assistance to CIS operators and CMRS licensees regarding the process for obtaining FCC authorization, help identify required CIS lease filings for a given correctional facility, and facilitate the required Commission filings.  The ombudsperson maintains a list of active CIS operators and locations where CISs have been deployed, displayed below.

OMBUDSPERSON CONTACT :

Charles Mathias
Phone:  (202) 418-1030
Email:  combatcontrabanddevices@fcc.gov

CIS DEPLOYMENT

This list includes Contraband Interdiction Systems permanently deployed through lease agreements with wireless carriers across the nation. The Bureau will update this list periodically, as new systems are authorized.

CONTRABAND INTERDICTION SYSTEMS (as of 3/20/2018)

State Location CIS Operator
CA Avenal State Prison - Avenal, CA Screened Images, Inc.
CA California Correctional Center and High Desert State Prison - Susanville, CA Screened Images, Inc.
CA California State Prison and Substance Abuse Treatment Facility - Corcoran, CA Screened Images, Inc.
CA Calipatria State Prison - Calipatria, CA Screened Images, Inc.
CA Centinela State Prison - Imperial, CA Screened Images, Inc.
CA Central CA Women's Facility - Chowchilla, CA Screened Images, Inc.
CA Chuckawalla Valley State Prison - Blythe, CA Screened Images, Inc.
CA Ironwood State Prison - Blythe, CA Screened Images, Inc.
CA Kern Valley State Prison - Delano, CA Screened Images, Inc.
CA Mule Creek State Prison - Ione, CA Screened Images, Inc.
CA North Kern Valley State Prison - Delano, CA Screened Images, Inc.
CA Pelican Bay State Prison - Crescent City, CA Screened Images, Inc.
CA Pleasant Valley State Prison - Coalinga, CA Screened Images, Inc.
CA Sierra Conversation Center - Jamestown, CA Screened Images, Inc.
CA Valley State Prison - Chowchilla, CA Screened Images, Inc.
CA Wasco State Prison, Wasco, CA Screened Images, Inc.
FL Martin Correctional Institution - Indiantown, FL CellBlox Acquisitions
FL Okeechobee Correctional Institution - Okeechobee, FL CellBlox Acquisitions
FL South Bay Correctional Facility - South Bay, FL CellAntenna Corporation
FL Wakulla Correctional Institution - Crawfordville, FL CellBlox Acquisitions
GA Jimmy Autry Correctional Institute - Pelham, GA CellBlox Acquisitions
GA Macon State Prison Facility - Oglethorpe, GA CellBlox Acquisitions
GA Smith State Prison Facility - Glennville, GA CellBlox Acquisitions
GA Telfair State Prison Facility - Helena, GA CellBlox Acquisitions
IN Branchville Correctional Facility - Branchville, IN ShawnTech Communications, Inc.
IN Correctional Industrial Facility - Pendleton, IN ShawnTech Communications, Inc.
IN Indiana Women's Prison - Indianapolis, IN ShawnTech Communications, Inc.
IN Miami Correctional Facility - Bunker Hill, IN ShawnTech Communications, Inc.
IN New Castle Correctional Facility - New Castle, IN ShawnTech Communications, Inc.
IN Pendleton Correctional Facility - Pendleton, IN ShawnTech Communications, Inc.
IN Plainfield Correctional Facility - Plainfield, IN ShawnTech Communications, Inc.
IN Putnamville Correctional Facility - Greencastle, IN ShawnTech Communications, Inc.
IN Rockville Correctional Facility - Rockville, IN ShawnTech Communications, Inc.
IN Wabash Valley Correctional Facility - Carlisle, IN ShawnTech Communications, Inc.
IN Westville Correctional Facility - Westville, IN ShawnTech Communications, Inc.
LA Jefferson Parish Correctional - Gretna, LA CellBlox Acquisitions
MD Maryland Transition Center / Baltimore City Detention Center / Jail Industries Building - Baltimore, MD Tecore Government Services, LLC
MS Central Mississippi Correctional Facility - Pearl, MS Screened Images, Inc.
MS Mississippi State Penitentiary - Parchman, MS Tecore Government Services, LLC
MS South Mississippi Correctional Institution - Leakesville, MS Screened Images, Inc.
TX Texas Department of Criminal Justice, McConnell Unit - Beeville, TX ShawnTech Communications, Inc.
TX Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Stiles Unit - Beaumont, TX ShawnTech Communications, Inc.

HOW CAN I COMMENT ?

The comment period is determined by the date of publication in the Federal Register.  Upon publication of the Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau will update this page with the relevant due dates for comments and reply comments, which can be filed in GN Docket No. 13-111.

ELECTRONIC FILERS
Comments may be filed electronically by accessing the Electronic Comment Filing System (https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/).

PAPER FILERS
Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail.  All filings must be addressed to the Commission’s Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.

Hand Delivered Filings:
445 12th St., SW, Room TW-A325
Washington, DC 20554
Filing hours: 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Commercial Overnight Mail:
9300 East Hampton Drive
Capitol Heights, MD 20743

U.S. Postal Service (First-class, Express, and Priority mail):
445 12th Street, SW
Washington DC 20554

For more information on how to file comments and the FCC's decision-making processes, visit this page.

Bureau/Office: 

Updated: 
Wednesday, April 18, 2018