A new controversy over smuggled cell phones in Texas state prisons erupted after investigators confirmed that a convict who escaped a week ago from a Beaumont prison used a phone to help arrange his freedom — the first time that’s happened in a Texas prison, says the Austin American-Statesman. Within hours, state corrections chief Brad Livingston ordered a tryout of new technology to block cell phone signals as a prelude to beefed-up security to prevent incidents like the recent escape of David Puckett , 27.
A demonstration of either jamming or managed-access technology — both of which limit or block cell phone transmissions — would be a first in Texas. Officials have struggled unsuccessfully for more than two years to curb phone smuggling in Texas’ 112 state prisons after a death row offender called a state senator on a smuggled phone. Then, officials decided against such a test because phone jamming violates federal law. Legislators were fuming not only about the smuggled phone, but about the apparent fact that Puckett had two Facebook pages that investigators think he may have maintained from inside the maximum-security prison. Puckett was captured after getting off a bus in Nebraska Monday.