WASHINGTON (KNWA/KFTA) — Arkansas U.S. Senators Tom Cotton and John Boozman are among a group of lawmakers that introduced legislation to prevent contraband cellphone use in federal and state prison facilities.

According to a press release, the Cellphone Jamming Reform Act would allow state and federal prisons to use cell phone jamming systems. “The bill gives state and federal prisons the authority to implement a jamming system to protect inmates, guards, and the public at large,” the release states.

Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), James Lankford (R-OK), Mike Braun (R-IN), John Kennedy (R-LA), and Bill Hagerty (R-TN) joined Cotton and Boozman in introducing the bill. Representative David Kustoff (R-TN) introduced companion legislation in the House Of Representatives.

“Cellphones are being slipped into jails and prisons, but federal policy prevents local law enforcement from jamming the cell signal. That needs to stop,” said Lankford. “After years of work and conversations with law enforcement, the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Justice, and Oklahoma prison leadership, we finally have a bill to allow states to jam illegal cell phones in their prisons to prevent prisoners from contacting their victims or coordinating even more crime while they are incarcerated. This bill simply allows state and federal prisons to use cellphone jammers to ensure they have the tools they need to combat illegal activity in a prison.” 

Prisoners have used contraband cellphones to direct illegal activities outside prison walls, including hits on rivals, sex trafficking, drug operations, and business deals. Cellphone jamming devices can stop this but the Federal Communications Act doesn’t allow facilities to use this technology. My bill would fix this problem so that criminals serve their time without posing a threat to the general public.

Sen. Tom Cotton, on the Cellphone Jamming Reform Act

This legislation is supported by the Correctional Leaders Association, the Council of Prison Locals, the American Correctional Association, the National Sheriff’s Association, and the Major County Sheriffs of America.