FCC official participates in SC hearing on prison cell phones

Published: Apr. 6, 2016 at 9:15 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 6, 2016 at 9:20 AM EDT
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Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Corrections officials say contraband cell phones are among the top security threats within prisons, and federal officials are in South Carolina to learn more about the problem.

Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai is participating Wednesday in a field hearing in Columbia to hear from officials about the issue.

South Carolina Corrections Department Director Bryan Stirling and his predecessors have emphasized the danger smuggled cell phones present within prison. The state has sought permission to jam cellular signals at prisons, but that request has stalled before the FCC.

In 2010, former Lee Correctional Institution Capt. Robert Johnson was nearly shot to death at his home in a hit said to have been ordered by an inmate using a smuggled cell phone. Johnson is also slated to take part in Wednesday's discussion.

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