Ringing behind bars – cell phone blocker in jail

Even behind bars, many a law is broken – often with the help of mobile phones. The country now wants to use mobile phone calls with jammers to plan drug trafficking and escape attempts behind prison walls. Nationwide, the project is so far unique, said the Baden-Württemberg Minister of Justice Ulrich Goll (FDP) on Tuesday in Karlsruhe. Previously, the CDU / FDP state cabinet had decided to install the broadcasters in the coming years in the correctional facilities.

In Switzerland, the first jail frequencies have been disrupted since last year. The reason: A sex offender had organized his escape from the cell despite a total ban on mobile phones. “What is already working well in Switzerland will also work in Baden-Württemberg,” said Goll.

So-called mobile phone blockers were until recently not allowed in Germany. After the federalism reform, however, the federal states can now legally anchor the installation of cell phone jammer devices in the prison system. An earlier Bundesrat initiative of Baden-Württemberg had failed. According to Goll, the mobile phone search devices already in use only detect devices that are also being used to make calls at the same time. “Since the hit rate is very low.”

The jammers cost in the words of the Minister because of the complex installation and technology per prison “some 100 000 €”. In recent years, more and more mobile phones have been smuggled into the prisons in the southwest. According to previous data, 26 cell phones were found in the 18 hospitals in Baden-Württemberg in 2003, compared with 118 in 2004; One year later, 96 devices were confiscated and 171 devices last year.

“The secret mobile radio traffic in the prisons endangers the internal security and the order”, stressed Prime Minister Günther Oettinger (CDU) after the external meeting of his cabinet in Baden. Mobile phones are banned for good reason in detention, but the coveted “hot line” is secretly used by prisoners for criminal business.

According to Goll, the disruption of mobile communications is limited to the grounds of the detention centers. The broadcasters could be used in such a way that “nobody outside the prison walls has to fear that they will no longer be able to make mobile calls”, the minister protested against some critical voices. A cell phone would then suddenly become useless for the prisoners.

Critics of the jammers complain that the jamming does not end at the prison wall: The radio coverage could be paralyzed in the area and the deposition of emergency calls are obstructed, argues the IT industry association Bitkom (Berlin). The intervention can not technically be limited to a narrowly defined area.