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Prison chiefs head to Washington to talk cellphones with FCC

By MEG KINNARD
Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Corrections officials from around the country are heading to Washington to discuss what they call their biggest security threat: cellphones in the hands of inmates.

The Federal Communications Commission is hosting a meeting Wednesday with law enforcement and prisons officials. The event makes good on Chairman Ajit Pai's promise last year that he would open a dialogue on the issue and report his findings to Congress.

Prison officials say cellphones - smuggled into their institutions by the thousands, by visitors, errant employees, and even delivered by drone - are dangerous because inmates use them to carry out crimes.

Some advocate cell signal jamming as a way to fix the problem. But wireless industry groups say they worry signal-blocking technologies could thwart legal calls.

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