Those of us in Maryland received this message from Governor Martin O'Malley:
Thanks to the leadership of Senator Barbara Mikulski in the United States Senate, this week we came one step closer to eliminating the use of illegal cell phones in our prisons. The Senate unanimously passed the Safe Prisons Communications Act of 2009 which, if implemented, would provide us the tools to use technology to block illegal inmate cell phone calls from within the walls of our prisons.
The use of cell phones by inmates constitutes a significant threat to public safety in Maryland's neighborhoods. The ability to communicate with the outside world illegally provides prisoners the ability to continue their criminal activity, and in some cases, threaten witnesses in their own criminal cases.
While the dedicated professionals in Maryland's prisons have stepped up their efforts to seize illegal cell phones, the only way we can definitively end the illegal calls is by blocking their signal. This legislation would give us the ability to do just that, providing us the access to urgently needed jamming technology.
I want to thank Senator Mikulski for her co-sponsorship of this bipartisan legislation and for her tireless work to improve the public safety here in Maryland. As the Safe Prisons Communications Act makes its way through the House of Representatives, we will continue to monitor its progress and advocate for its passage.
"The fundamental issue is that wireless phones are a contraband problem, not a telecommunications policy issue."
remains. Apparently the Senate disagrees.