Mobile phone jammers in prisons
Inmates in prisons cannot have mobile phones. If they get one, they may use it to organise illegal activity, threaten witnesses and plan escapes.
Prison officers may use mobile phone jammers to block the signals of any mobile phones inmates may have smuggled into prison.
There is a risk that using a mobile phone jammer in a prison will interfere with surrounding public mobile phone networks.
We work with Corrective Services NSW (CFNSW) to make sure that the use of jammers does not interfere with your mobile phone.
Mobile phone jammers are illegal devices
It is illegal for you to use, supply or have a mobile phone jammer. These devices block or interfere with mobile phone signals. They can:
- block access for people calling emergency services
- interfere with other radio services
We have made exceptions to the rules to allow the trial and use of mobile phone jammers in certain prisons by CSNSW.
Use of jammers at Lithgow Correctional Centre
In 2013 we allowed a trial of mobile phone jammers at the Lithgow Correctional Centre under the Radiocommunications Exemption Determination 2015.
The trial was to see if jammers could block mobile phone signals inside the prison without impacting mobile phone use outside. There were no confirmed reports or complaints from the general public of interference to mobile phone networks in the area.
Following a public consultation process, which closed on 6 July 2018, a new exemption determination was made.
From 1 November 2018, CSNSW can continue to use mobile phone jammers at the Lithgow Correctional Centre as authorised by the Radiocommunications Exemption Determination 2018.
You can see the area the mobile phone jammer covers on the map of the Lithgow Correctional Centre.
This is the map referred to in the definition of “field zone” in section 4 of the Radiocommunications Exemption Determination 2018.
Trial at Goulburn Correctional Centre NSW
CSNSW is trialling mobile phone jammers at the Goulburn Correctional Centre. We authorised this trial through the Goulburn Exemption Determination legislation.
This trial looks at the risks of using a mobile phone jammer at a prison located closer to where large numbers of people live.
The results of the trial will help authorities decide whether to use jammers in other correctional facilities.
CSNSW notified us that pre-trial testing will happen from 26 August 2019.
We must be happy with the reports from these tests before we will let the mobile phone jammer trial go ahead.
You can see the area the mobile phone jammer covers on the map of the Goulburn Correctional Complex. This is the map referred to in the definition of “field trial zone” in section 4 of the Goulburn Exemption Determination.