S. Carolina’s Sanford urges FCC to combat prison cellphones


Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A former South Carolina governor now in Congress is asking federal communications officials for their help combatting the danger of cellphones in the hands of prison inmates.

U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford on Thursday asked Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to reverse a policy prohibiting states from using technology to jam signals of cellphones smuggled to inmates behind bars.

Pai has said decades-old law governing airwave regulation has tied the agency’s hands. But Sanford says it’s lobbying by the cellphone industry that has kept states from being able to jam.

Sanford’s letter comes weeks after an inmate escaped one of the state’s maximum-security facilities in a scheme officials said was facilitated in part by use of illegal cellphones. Corrections Director Bryan Stirling has called cellphones his agency’s biggest security threat.

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