Georgia AG Wants Federal Action on Cell Phone Jammers for Prisons, Jails

This is a press release from the office of Attorney General Chris Carr.

Attorney General Chris Carr is urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take immediate action to allow for the use of cell phone jamming devices within state prisons and local jails. The FCC currently prohibits the use of cell phone “jammers,” and that prohibition extends to state and local governments. Yet in prisons and jails throughout the country, contraband cell phones are being used to plan and orchestrate violent attacks and other criminal activity, posing a real and substantial safety risk to correctional officers, visitors, inmates, and the public at large.

“The easiest way to protect the public from the harms caused by contraband cell phones is to allow for the use of cell phone jamming technology in prisons and jails, but the FCC continues to block our efforts,” said Carr. “This outdated guidance limits legitimate law enforcement tools, presents dangerous conditions for correctional officers, and allows for the escalation of criminal networks both inside and outside prison walls. We’re committed to combatting violent crime wherever it occurs, which is why we continue to call on the federal government to remove this substantial barrier to public safety.”

In Georgia alone, 8,074 contraband cell phones were confiscated in 2023, with 5,482 confiscated to date in 2024. Recently, an incarcerated leader of the infamous street gang, “Yves Saint Laurent Squad,” used a contraband cell phone to order a hit which resulted in the death of an 88-year-old Georgia veteran. A gang leader in North Carolina was able to order the kidnapping of a prosecutor’s father via a cell phone in prison. In California, prison gangs used contraband cell phones to order murders within the prison system and traffic drugs. 

“There are hundreds of examples from across the country of how a contraband cell phone in the hands of an inmate can be used as a deadly weapon and gives them the ability to continue their criminal enterprise. We are incensed by the length these individuals go to in continuing those activities and endangering the public,” said Georgia Department of Corrections Commissioner Tyrone Oliver. “As attempts to infiltrate our facilities with contraband cell phones evolve, access to jamming technology is paramount in our efforts to combat those attempts. We appreciate the support of Attorney General Carr in our ongoing commitment to public safety and the safe operations of our facilities.”

In his letter, Carr notes that the FCC policy relies on a statute enacted in the early 1990s, years before prison inmates began using contraband cell phones to plan and engage in unlawful and dangerous activity.

Carr further states: “Nothing in the language of 47 U.S.C § 333 prohibits the FCC from revising its position to allow state agencies to use cell phone jamming devices in prisons. In fact, the United States Bureau of Prisons has recognized the potential value of cell phone jammers already and is permitted to use jamming devices at several federal penitentiaries, including at least one in Georgia.”

In January 2023, Carr joined a 22-state coalition of attorneys general in urging Congressional leaders to pass legislation that would allow states to implement a cell phone jamming system in correctional facilities.

Carr’s Gang Prosecution Unit has also partnered with the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) to investigate and prosecute currently incarcerated individuals who are alleged to have engaged in criminal gang activity and discussions regarding the packaging and shipping of contraband items into a GDC facility.

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1 Comment

  1. They should continue to prohibit them from using the jammers because the only reason there asking about jamming the phones is because how there being exposed by the prison conditions and cruel punishment these prisoners are being subjected to. The three incidents are isolated and wild have happened anyways because gang affiliation doesn’t mean just prisoners, but staff as well. If they jam the cell phones the violence would triple or quadruple what it currently is.

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