Attack on SC prison guard renews phone-jam debate

Columbia, SC - COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The man responsible for keeping contraband out of a South Carolina prison was nearly killed in what authorities say was an attack ordered by an inmate using a smuggled cell phone.

Corrections Department Capt. Robert Johnson was shot six times in his home in March. Now he and his bosses want Congress to change a law that says regulators can grant permission to jam public airwaves only to federal agencies, not state or local ones.

Authorities in Texas, Maryland, Louisiana and the District of Columbia want that permission too.

Cell phone industry officials say jamming signals inside prisons could interfere with legitimate phone use nearby. They say better technology is available and just went into use at a prison in Mississippi.

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