Drone detection is a primary concern for prisons now that criminals are using drones to transport contraband into prison yards. Securus Technologies, a leading provider of communications and security for law enforcement, government payment services, investigations, corrections and public safety, is adding one more service to its resume. It is launching a pilot drone detection program.
With the advancement of drone technology, more and more people can successfully operate drones. They are less expensive, more powerful and easier to operate. These facts have made it easier for criminals to use drones to smuggle contraband into prison yards using the drones as the transportation. They can easily fly over prison walls and until recently can do so undetected.
Drones have been used to transport drugs, cell phones, cigarettes, knives and guns into prisons. Any of these items can be used to future perpetuate crime. The drugs and cigarettes can be used as payment to solicit criminal actions from others. The cell phones can be used to plan crimes and hire contract killers and thieves while the guns and knives can be used to attack other prisoners and security personnel. Obviously guns and knives can kill and injure in the hands of convicted criminals.
In 2015, a delivery was made by a drone of 1/2 ounce of heroin, two ounces of marijuana and five ounces of tobacco to an Ohio prison. In 2017, a prison attempted an escape. The tools he used for the escape arrived via a drone. Prisons are both seeking to detect unwanted drones and to use drones for the detection of smugglers in prisons surrounded by water such as the Cayman Island Prison Service.
Securus Technology has combined forces with engineers and some technology partners to develop the detection technology that will identify drones well before they reach prison air space. So far, they have spent 18 months researching and testing technology options. Now, they are ready to start actual prison yard testing of the drone detection technology.
The current construction of drone detection technology involves a digital antennae infrastructure. It’s very much like the Wireless Containment system Securus utilizes to stop the completion of unauthorized cell phone calls from inside the prison. It has been installed and is currently being tested. With continued trials, additional resources and more investments Securus will continue to improve the technology until it is 100% effective at detecting drones.
It’s imperative that prisoners do not have access to harmful substances and weapons. The drone detection program is the most important new program needed to promote safety in prisons worldwide. Securus Technologies can continue serving the 3,500 government agencies and 1,200,000 inmates, knowing that their safety is not being compromised by the infiltration of drones and the contraband they carry.