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STA Letter to DC Dept. of Corrections

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Released: December 31, 1969
Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
January 2, 2009
Mr. Devon Brown
DA 09-3
District of Columbia Department of Corrections
1923 Vermont Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001
Dear Mr. Brown:
The Commission has received your letter requesting "authorization for the District of
Columbia Department of Corrections to host a demonstration of equipment designed to block
wireless telephone calls by prisoners."1 You state that the equipment was developed by
CellAntenna Corporation and is "scheduled to be exhibited on January 8, 2009, at the D.C. Jail at
1901 D Street, S.E., Washington, D.C. 20003."2 In support of the request, you explain that
"contraband cell phones are a major security risk within correctional settings" and that "prison
and jail systems across the country are confiscating these devices at an alarming rate."3 In
addition, you state that "cell phones are used by inmates to engage in highly pernicious behavior
such as the intimidation of witnesses, coordination of escapes, and the conducting of criminal
We agree that the proposed demonstration of equipment designed to prevent prisoners'
unauthorized wireless telecommunications will benefit public safety. Consistent with your
representation that the proposed demonstration "can be limited to a jail or prison facility without
interruption to other cell phones or lines of communication outside of correctional walls,"5 we
find that the proposed demonstration will be narrowly tailored to limit impact on authorized
wireless operations, while maximizing public safety benefits. Accordingly, we hereby grant, on
our own motion, special temporary authority to the District of Columbia Department of
Corrections to conduct a demonstration of CellAntenna Corporation's directional jamming
equipment to be held on January 8, 2009, from 11:30 a.m. to approximately 1 p.m. at the D.C. Jail
located at 1901 D Street, S.E., Washington, D.C. 20003. Actual demonstration of such
equipment is not to exceed 30 minutes in duration within this time frame. We require that the
demonstration leave unaffected authorized wireless communications transmitted on (1) mobile
handsets and base stations outside the established test area at the D.C. Jail facilities located at
1901 D Street, S.E., Washington, D.C. 20003; and (2) mobile handsets operating on non-blocked
frequency bands used by the D.C. Jail staff performing their official duties within the D.C. Jail.

1 Letter from Devon Brown, Director, District of Columbia Department of Corrections, to Kevin Martin,
Chairman, Federal Communications Commission at 1 (Dec. 16, 2008) ("DOC Letter").
2 Id.
3 Id.
4 Id.
5 Id.

This action is taken under delegated authority pursuant to Sections 0.131 and 0.331 of the
Commission's Rules, 47 C.F.R. 0.131, 0.331.
Joel D. Taubenblatt
Deputy Chief
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau

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