Federal bills would let state prisons jam cellphone signals

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Proposed federal legislation would give state prison officials the ability they have long sought to jam the signals of cellphones smuggled to inmates within their walls.

The Associated Press has learned U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and U.S. Rep. David Kustoff of Tennessee on Thursday introduced companion bills to allow jamming.

State prison officials across the country have long argued for the ability to jam the signals, saying the phones are dangerous because inmates use them to carry out crimes and plot violence both inside and outside prison.

The Federal Communications Commission, which regulates the nation’s airwaves, has said a decades-old prohibition on interrupting the airwaves at state-level institutions prevents the agency from permitting jamming at state prisons.

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