Securus Technologies is one of the largest providers of inmate communications services and prison security systems in the United States today. The company has been at the forefront of developing some of the most cutting-edge systems that help prison guards and administrators keep their institutions safe and secure. From its video visitation technology, which has proven to be a wildly popular way for inmates to stay in touch with loved ones, to its high-tech, artificial-intelligence-based call-monitoring systems, Securus is blazing new trails in prison tech.
Now, the company is taking on what may be its biggest challenge ever. Since the late 90s, prisons across the country have been flooded with contraband cellular devices. These phones and other devices allow prisoners to effectively circumvent the security protocols and systems that the prison has installed. This poses a serious security risk to the institution. But the real threat that contraband cellphones have created is through providing an efficient and reliable means of communications with the outside world for dangerous, powerful and often-violent gang leaders.
Throughout most of the country, prison gangs rule the nation’s penal institutions. These gangs now exist in a sort of uneasy symbiosis with the institutions where they are contained. In a highly charged environment, where racial tensions are often right at the boiling point, the gangs can actually assist prison guards by maintaining internal discipline on a level that would not be possible for the guards themselves. Although it is a somewhat open secret in the prison world, the gangs are able to keep their members and those who they control in check through intra-gang violence. This would not be possible for guards, who would quickly face lawsuits. For this reason, the presence of prison gangs actually makes things like open rec yards and out-of-cell time possible. If it were not for the gangs’ ability to self-police and maintain order, prisoners in most of the nation’s high-security facilities might quickly find themselves locked in their cells 24 hours a day.
But the benefits of these gangs come with a steep cost. They are made up of criminals and are highly organized, hierarchical and often have well-read, intelligent leadership with a ruthless bent. Furthermore, prison gangs tend to be run on a Mafia-like model. They tend to be focused on making money, highly professional and ready to mete out vicious assaults on anyone who crosses them, at the drop of a hat.
These gangs have used contraband cellphones to intimidate witnesses, assault law enforcement and even carry out assassinations of prison staff. But Securus Technologies is putting an end to that with its Wireless Containment System. The WCS is currently being deployed at many prisons throughout the United States, where it has been proven 100 percent effective in shutting down illegal cellular calls.