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Congressman David Kustoff

Representing the 8th District of Tennessee

Kustoff Introduces the Cellphone Jamming Reform Act of 2019

March 28, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Representatives David Kustoff (TN-08) and William Timmons (SC-04) introduced H.R. 1954-the Cellphone Jamming Reform Act of 2019. Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced identical legislation on the Senate side. This bill will address the use of contraband cell phones in state and federal correctional facilities. 

“Contraband cell phones have been a major problem in correctional facilities nationwide, and it is long past due that Congress take action and protect the public from criminals who continue their illegal activities from behind bars. Inmates use these cellphones to engage in drug operations, sex trafficking, and organizing escapes that cause devastating consequences for public safety and empower these criminals to continue a life of crime,” said Rep. David Kustoff. “I am happy to join my colleagues in introducing this vital piece of legislation, and I look forward to its swift passage.

“The Cellphone Jamming Reform Act of 2019 is a common-sense solution to a very real problem. I am proud to add my support to this bill,” said Rep. William Timmons.

What this bill does:

  • Allows state and federal prisons to use jamming systems to interfere with cellphone signals within the housing facilities of the inmates.
  • Requires the state or federal facility that implements a jamming system to report such use to the Bureau of Prisons, which will have the ultimate authority over the system.
  • This bill is not a mandate, instead, it is an option for state and federal prisons to implement a jamming system that will protect inmates and the public at large.
  • Allows for the facilities to choose from a broad category of jamming technology, which includes managed access technology, surgical jamming technology, beacon technology, or any future technology that would curb the use of contraband cellphones, and does not prescribe the specific types of technology that must be used by the facilities.

The number of contraband cellphones confiscated from various locations:

  • Federal Bureau of Prisons: 5,116 in 2016
  • Tennessee prisons: 2,293 in 2017
  • Arkansas prisons: 1,550 in 2017
  • South Carolina prisons: 4,500 in 2017
  • Georgia prisons: 13,000 in 2014
  • California prisons: 14,000 in 2017