Inmate-to-Inmate Phone Calls Found to Be a Significant Security Threat

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — JLG Technologies and Inmate Calling Solutions (ICSolutions), a Keefe Group Company, recently developed new technology that can detect every time an inmate at a correctional facility communicates with another inmate — whether at another facility, within the same facility, different facilities under the same agency or inmates in different states, assuming both facilities have the technology. Tested in large-scale deployments, the technology has been found to be effective at detecting and reporting such incidents, as well as in uncovering the subsequent activities of inmates who have participated in the calls.

The technology, code-named ICER (Inmate Inter-Communications Evaluation and Reporting) has been developed, implemented and tested by the companies as a way to manage and interfere with potential disturbances at facilities. JLG Technologies created the ICER system as part of a three-year collaboration with ICSolutions, a national provider of correctional telecommunications systems.

ICER was created in response to past incidents at correctional facilities throughout the country: in October 1995, three virtually simultaneous disturbances began at three different Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP) facilities — in Allenwood, Pa., Greenville, Ill., and Memphis, Tenn., — a day after a disturbance at the FBOP facility in Talladega, Ala., injured 13 people and caused more than $1 million in damage to the facility.

While the disturbances appeared to be spontaneous — varying in size, severity, damage and time to gain control — a report by the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that the disturbances were not a spontaneous coincidence.

The report stated that the disturbances were clearly coordinated, with inmates at each facility using the inmate telephone system and outside accomplices to speak directy with one another.

Although there have been no similar disturbance ‘epidemics’ using inmate-to-inmate phone communications since the 1995 incident, the threat remains, according to research.

New studies, not possible until recently, reveal that inmates regularly conduct illicit inmate-to-inmate telephone communications, and that the majority of these communications involve threats to the public, to correctional staff and other inmates.

“ICSolutions saw a critical need in the industry for an effective solution to this problem,” said Brendan Philbin, vice president of business development at ICSolutions. “We turned to JLG Technologies, makers of the breakthrough Investigator Pro Inmate Phone Crime Detection and Prevention System. We thought that if anyone could figure out how to reliably detect inmate-to-inmate communications, JLG could. So we asked them to build it.”

Once JLG Technologies completed development of the ICER system, ICSolutions deployed it in a beta test that, according to Philbin, proved extraordinarily successful.

“We view ICER as an active contributor to ICSolutions’ commitment to helping promote the safety of the public, as well as the men and women who serve them — and who make up our correctional customers,” he said. “It’s exactly what the industry has needed for a long time.”