California CDCR seeks proposals for contraband cell phone managed access

Deltek Sr. Analyst Jeff Webster reports.

Earlier this month, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) began the process of replacing its current contract for inmate telephone services through competitive procurement. The invitation for bids (IFB) will replace the current contract held by the California Technology Agency and set to expire January 31, 2013. In its place, the state hopes to contract for new inmate telephone services as well as a managed access system for cellular telephone usage in the prison system. This managed access system will be one of only a few in the country as cell phone contraband continues to rise.

The state issued a request for information (RFI) in August 2010 seeking vendor interest in participating in demonstrations of technology to prohibit the use of contraband cell phones at correctional facilities. The following March, California released its concept statement on cell phone and wireless device eradication. This document outlined high-level functional requirements, needs statements, risks associated with the project, and cost estimates. The state concluded that a managed access system was the only currently-available technology to allow signal access to certain devices while prohibiting access to other devices. Given current federal law, the jamming of communications is illegal, and the cost of using signal triangulation would be too high.

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