- The Washington Times - Monday, August 3, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Thank you for your recent editorial in support of legislation to allow prison systems to jam cell phones within the walls of our nation’s prisons (“Dial M for madness,” Opinion, Tuesday). It is well past time for Congress to amend the antiquated 1934 law to allow cell-phone-jamming technology to be used to combat crimes being orchestrated by prisoners. This is truly an issue of public safety.

Preventing the introduction of cell phones in our prisons has become one of the most significant challenges facing the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. During fiscal 2008, 864 cell phones were confiscated in TDCJ units statewide. Incapacitating those cell phones that get through our security measures by jamming their signals — rendering the cell phones useless to those who might use them to continue illegal activities — is vital to public safety. This is why Gov. Rick Perry asked Congress to address this issue last year.

We applaud Congress’ willingness to consider measures to assist correctional agencies in combating contraband in our prisons, and we applaud the leadership of the Texas congressional delegation for addressing this important issue.

OLIVER J. BELL

Chairman

Texas Board of Criminal Justice

Austin

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