Maryland secured a federal grant to help combat contraband cell phone use, officials said.
In a three-year, $2 million contract with Columbia-based technology company Tecore Networks, the state will use a techonology called managed access, according to the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. The technology denies non-emergency calls from unauthorized cell phones using easy-to-hide SIM cards.
The system will be tested in a 60-day trial at a facility in Baltimore starting in May, officials said. The contract allows the technology to be used through October 2015. Federal funds will pay for half of the contract, and the state will pay for the other half.
The technology doesn't violate federal law or interfere with calls from outside prisons like phone jamming does, officials said.
In recent years, the public safety and correctional services department has taken a number of efforts to decrease cell phone use in prisons, including the use of cell phone detection dogs.