skip to main content

S. 952: Cellphone Jamming Reform Act of 2019

The text of the bill below is as of Mar 28, 2019 (Introduced).

Summary of this bill

Should state prisons, where the vast majority of prisoners are located, be able to jam contraband cell phone signals for prisoners as federal prisons can?


Historically, crime committed by prisoners remained within the prison, such as stabbings or illegally smuggling cigarettes. But cell phones with internet access now allow an unlimited reach.

For example, last year five South Carolina inmates were indicted for extorting 442 military members. Using cell phones from their prisons, the inmates pretended to be women on dating websites, flirting with male military members and sending nude photos of naked women found online, which they would claim were selfies.

They would then call the men and ...



1st Session

S. 952


March 28, 2019

(for himself and Mr. Graham) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation


To provide that the Federal Communications Commission may not prevent a State or Federal correctional facility from utilizing jamming equipment, and for other purposes.


Short title

This Act may be cited as the Cellphone Jamming Reform Act of 2019.


Limitation on FCC authority



In this section—


the term Commission means the Federal Communications Commission;


the term correctional facility means a jail, prison, penitentiary, or other correctional facility; and


the term jamming system


means a system of radio signal generating and processing equipment and antennas designed to disrupt, prevent, interfere with, or jam a wireless communication into, from, or within a correctional facility; and


includes the components and functionality of a system described in subparagraph (A), such as—


antennas, cabling, and cable elements;


the installation, interconnection, and operation of system elements, power levels, and radio frequencies carried on the cables or fed into antennas;


the radiation pattern of the antennas; and


the location and orientation of the antennas.




In general

Notwithstanding any other provision of law or regulation, and subject to paragraph (2), the Commission may not prevent a State or Federal correctional facility from operating a jamming system within the correctional facility to prevent, jam, or otherwise interfere with a wireless communication that is sent—


to or from a contraband device in the facility; or


by or to an individual held in the facility.



With respect to a jamming system described in paragraph (1)—


the operation of the system shall be limited to the housing facilities of the correctional facility in which the system is located;


if the correctional facility that operates the system is a State correctional facility, the State that operates the correctional facility shall be responsible for funding the entire cost of the system, including the operation of the system; and


the correctional facility that operates the system shall—


before implementing the system, consult with local law enforcement agencies and other public safety officials in the area in which the facility is located; and


submit to the Director of the Bureau of Prisons a notification regarding that operation.