SC prisons director 'hopeful' after FCC to look at prison cellphone issues

Updated: Oct. 26, 2017 at 11:04 AM EDT
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Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission says he's willing to work with corrections officials, telecom companies and the FBI to combat cellphones in the nation's prisons.

In a letter obtained Thursday by The Associated Press, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wrote to U.S. Rep. David Kustoff that he'll try to arrange a meeting among those groups within 120 days and report its progress to Congress.

Earlier this month, Kustoff and dozens of other House members and U.S. senators wrote to Pai, saying that addressing the security threat posed by contraband cellphones is "an issue of critical importance."

The interaction follows letters by a top official with the U.S. Department of Justice and South Carolina Corrections Director Bryan Stirling describing the dangers posed by inmates' unfettered ability to communicate via cellphones.

Stirling, who is one of the biggest critics of the policy, called the move "hopeful."

A recent instance of cellphones in state prisons found an inmate at Evans Correctional Institute going on Facebook Live.

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