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Gov. Sanford Calls on Feds to Approve Cell Phone Jamming

September 22, 2010

STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR

MARK SANFORD, GOVERNOR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Ben Fox   803-734-2100   bfox@gov.sc.gov

Gov. Sanford Calls on Feds to Approve Cell Phone Jamming GOVERNOR ASKS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: “CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?”

AFTER YEAR OF BUREAUCRATIC FOOT DRAGGING THAT’S STALLED LIFE-SAVING TECHNOLOGY

Columbia, S.C. – September 22, 2010 – Joining Corrections Director Jon Ozmint, SLED Chief Reggie Lloyd and wardens from all 28 South Carolina prisons, Governor Mark Sanford today called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to approve South Carolina’s petition to use technology that would prevent inmates from illegally using cellular phones. Inmates at state penitentiaries have committed fraud and even ordered assassination attempts using smuggled cell phones. The governor was also joined today by Captain Robert Johnson, a prison guard who was shot six times at his home after an unsuccessful “hit” was called in by a South Carolina inmate using an illegal cell phone.

“This is a commonsense solution to a serious public safety problem,” Gov. Sanford said. “The technology we’re talking about has been proven to be safe, highly effective, and has no ill effect on cell phone reception outside the prison. Unfortunately, it’s been over a year since our Department of Corrections filed a petition signed by 30 other states asking the federal government to allow states to use cell phone jamming technology * a system the federal government is already allowed to use.

“This federal foot-dragging has gone on for far too long, and Captain Robert Johnson and others have had to suffer the consequences of federal inaction. This is about more than prisons; it’s about keeping the public safe * and we’re urging the federal government, in the strongest possible terms, to get moving on the approval process. On that front, Jon Ozmint deserves enormous credit for not letting this issue die. As well, I’d thank Director Lloyd for speaking out and Senator Jim DeMint for pushing this issue on the national stage. Above all, I’d thank Captain Johnson for his efforts to ensure what happened to him doesn’t happen to anybody else.”

The system under review is used to jam cell phone signals in a confined area, and only stops calls from phones not an approved list. It would have no effect on calls made by prison staff or civilians traveling near a state prison.

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