Prison’s mobile phone blocker does not work

The system designed to disrupt mobile signals coming into Sweden’s high-security Hall prison is not working as it is supposed to, allowing prisoners to use mobile phones, Dagens Nyheter has reported.

The installation at the prison – the first prison to receive this technology in Sweden – has been a failure, said those responsible at facility in Södertälje, south of Stockholm.

It is clear today that the signal-disrupting system, something the correctional system promised to have running before 2006, is too expensive for other high-security institutions to obtain. Now, the prisons service has no way to block mobile signals to prisoners.

The system was intended to block out both mobile signals inside the prison walls and register them.

Per-Åke Palmquist, Hall’s chief, said the system sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t work. He said this is unacceptable.

Although the system is unable to block all incoming calls, it is still able to register those that do come in, allowing Hall to see phone traffic.

“We have had problems,” said Palmquist. “The first function works perfectly, that is detecting incoming and outgoing signals from mobile phones. But when it comes to blocking telephone signals, it has proven to not work effectively.”

The system was inspected Thursday, but the results are unknown.

“We want it to really work, not just 90 percent,” Palmquist said.