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​New technology at Supermax 2 makes mobile phones obsolete

Published date: Monday, 26 August 2019

[PDF version of this media release]

Contraband mobile phones will be rendered useless when the latest generation mobile-phone jamming is switched on at Goulburn Correctional Centre’s high-security unit for extremist and terrorism-related offenders. 

Testing of the system’s first stage roll-out begins today at High Risk Management Correctional Centre 2 and will later include Goulburn Correctional Centre and Supermax. 

Commissioner Peter Severin said Corrective Services NSW was a leader in implementing technologies to combat contraband in prisons. 

“Contraband mobile phones are an issue for prison authorities around the world, because the phones are as small as a keyring and can be easily concealed,” Mr Severin said. 

“This technology will make a significant improvement to the security at Goulburn because even if an inmate manages to smuggle a phone in, it will be completely useless for communication because it can’t connect to the network.” 

The system at Goulburn includes numerous antennas, which jam the frequencies that would normally transmit mobile-phone signals. 

Minister for Counter Terrorism and Corrections Anthony Roberts said the technology will complement existing anti-contraband measures at the prison. 

“Mobile phones and other contraband pose a threat to the security and safety of our correctional centres, which is why we take a zero tolerance approach,” Mr Roberts said. 

“The specialist Security Operations Group and correctional centre staff conduct frequent searches of visitors, vehicles and inmates. We use x-ray and other scanning technology, intelligence gathering and targeted and random searches of cells and common areas.” 

The Australian Communications and Media Authority made an exemption to the Radiocommunications Act 1992 for the phone-jamming trial at Goulburn. If the initial testing is successful, the two-year trial will commence. 

The system at Goulburn has been installed so the jamming signal doesn’t penetrate beyond the complex’s boundaries and doesn’t affect mobile devices in the community. 

The technology was first trialled at Lithgow Correctional Centre in 2013 where it remains in operation and has since been upgraded. 

The 46-bed Supermax 2 opened in May to act as a ‘step-down unit’ from Supermax to house offenders who have demonstrated a commitment to disengage from radical behaviour. It is currently housing Supermax inmates while the centre is refurbished.