Over the last few decades, the prison gangs operating throughout the nation’s criminal justice system have grown from a relatively isolated problem into a nationwide feature of the country’s prisons. Gangs like the Aryan Brotherhood, the Mexican Mafia and the Black Guerrilla Family are highly organized, well-financed through criminal enterprises and wield an enormous amount of power within the nation’s prison system. One of the main sources of their power has been the ability to effectively communicate with membership on the outside, allowing gang leaders to act with the same level of effectiveness and leadership as if they were walking free on the streets.
Effective communication is the linchpin of effective organization
Many of the nation’s prison gangs are truly formidable organizations. With rigid, hierarchic command structures and a level of regimentation among the lower ranks that rivals anything seen in the elite units of the U.S. military, the nation’s prison gangs operate as part paramilitary-like organizations, part mafia. Most of the activities of these gangs are aimed at earning money. But sometimes, other concerns come to the forefront.
One of the most serious problems that has been associated with the rise of the modern U.S. prison gang has been the gang’s ability to undermine the criminal justice system. Through the intimidation of witnesses and even the ordering of hits on snitches and corrections officers, these gangs wield enough power on the outside of prison to make anyone who would think of crossing them to reconsider.
The gangs are also able to quickly get vast amounts of detailed information on everything from the criminal records of prospective members to the addresses of corrections officers in the prisons where they are housed. And all of this communication has been greatly facilitated by the use of illegal cell phones.
But without the easy access to illegal cellular devices that the gangs currently enjoy, it would be far more difficult for them to continue carrying out their nefarious activities. It is for this reason that Securus Technologies, one of the nation’s leading inmate communications service providers, has developed a system that it calls the Wireless Containment System. The WCS is able to intercept and block 100 percent of all unauthorized cellular calls emanating from within any prison where it is installed. It is also able to facilitate the location of any cellular device within its operation range that happens to be turned on. This gives officers the capability to locate and confiscate any unauthorized cellular device operating within the prison.
The WCS has proven itself to be nearly totally effective. In the few prisons where it has been installed, the system has forced the number of illegal cell phones down to nearly zero.