How valuable is contraband to prison inmates? Valuable enough that they would literally kill someone over contraband being confiscated. Cell phones may well be the most dangerous type of prison contraband. Today, Robert Johnson is a consultant to Securus Technologies the Dallas Texas-based company whose product line promotes prison and public safety. In 2010 when he was shot six times at point-blank-range in his own home Mr. Johnson was a captain at South Carolina’s Lee Correctional Institution.
Robert Johnson has a particular talent for finding contraband. The attempt on his life was spawned by his intercepting a package containing roughly $50,000 worth of contraband. In response, the gang that was awaiting the package used a contraband cell phone to put out a contract on Mr. Johnson’s life. The would-be assassin Sean Echols was paid $6,000 to carry out the hit. As part of his crusade to make the public aware of the dangers of contraband cell phones, Robert Johnson has testified before the Federal Communications Commission. As a consultant to Securus, he has helped develop the companies Wireless Containment System.
Securus Technologies’ Wireless Containment System (WCS) detects and blocks cell phone signals thus rendering the devices useless to inmates. Over a one year period, 1.7 million calls from contraband cell phones were blocked by WCS. Both effective and economical, Securus has spent $40 million developing its WCS system and continues to invest money in making the system even more effective.
Governmental forms and regulations were a stumbling block to more prisons employing the Wireless Containment System. Rick Smith Securus’ Chairman of the Board and CEO reports that in March of 2017 the FCC loosened those restrictions. This gives Robert Johnson the hope that now more prisons will make WCS a part of their security system. To illustrate why he refers to contraband cellphones as “dangerous weapons” Mr. Johnson sites not only the attempt on his life but also, the tragically successful attempt on the life of nine-month-old Kendarius Edwards Jr. Little Kendarius was murdered after an inmate used a contraband cellphone to put out a contract on the baby’s life.