Monday, April 16, 2012

CDCR Awards System-wide Telephone Contract That Will Restrict Cellular Phones in Prisons

No cost to the State for technology to reduce contraband cell phone use 

SACRAMENTO—The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) today announced a “groundbreaking and momentous” contract awarded to Global Tel*Link (GTL) designed to eliminate the contraband cell phone use by inmates.

Under the contract, GTL will also provide the Inmate/Ward Telephone System (IWTS) for inmates to make domestic and international calls from an authorized phone network.

“Inmates have used cell phones to commit more crimes, organize assaults on staff, and terrorize victims,” CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate said. “This groundbreaking and momentous technology will enable CDCR to crack down on the potentially dangerous communications by inmates.” 

Managed Access technology uses a secure cellular umbrella over a specified area blocking unauthorized cellular communication transmissions, such as e-mails, texts, phone calls, or Internet access. 

Implementation of the Managed Access System will come at no cost to taxpayers. GTL is responsible for all implementation costs, including new installation of equipment and services, as well as the costs of operating this technology at CDCR institutions. GTL, in return, receives the revenue generated from the ITWS services.

CDCR anticipates the Managed Access System to be operational at its first institution by the end of the year with other institutions to follow.

The Federal Communications Commission supports Managed Access technology as a lawful means to effectively stop the use of contraband cell phones in prisons.

In October 2011, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed Senate Bill (SB) 26 (Padilla) into law. Under SB 26 it is a misdemeanor, with a possible fine of up to $5,000 per device, for possessing or attempting to introduce an unauthorized cell phone in a prison. The misdemeanor prosecution and fines apply to staff, contractors and visitors. Penalties for inmates include up to 90 days loss of good-time credits.

SB 26 prohibited the company from raising rates for collect calls on the Inmate/Ward Telephone System. In fact, called parties will realize a reduced rate under the new contract. The new IWTS will provide additional enhancements including multiple payment options for inmates and their families. The California Technology Agency, which owns and administers the contract, will monitor service to ensure there are no additional charges applied to calls. 

In 2011, CDCR tested the Managed Access technology at two institutions. The test was conducted over an 11-day period for approximately eight hours a day. During the test, the equipment detected a total of 2,593 unique wireless devices.  The equipment blocked more than 25,000 unauthorized communication attempts, such as calls, texts, emails, and efforts to log on to the Internet from a smart phone.

In 2007, CDCR staff discovered nearly 1,400 contraband cell phones. In 2008, it was 2,800; in 2009, 6,995; in 2010, approximately 10,760; in 2011, more than 15,000; and to date this year, 2,181 contraband cell phones have been discovered in prisons and Conservation Camps. 

For more information about managed-access technology and other efforts by CDCR to reduce contraband cell phones inside California’s prisons, visit CDCR’s Contraband Cell Phone webpage here: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Contraband-Cell-Phones/index.html

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For Immediate Release
April 16, 2012
Contact: Dana Simas
(916) 445-4950