Cell phones are weapons of mass destruction in South Carolina prisons. That’s what Robert Johnson, a former officer with the S.C. Dept. of Corrections (SCDC), told a group of lawmakers Thursday in Columbia.

Johnson was shot six times in his home after a hit on him was ordered from inside prison walls. Johnson was there Thursday to testify on behalf of the Bryan Stirling, SCDC Director, asking for more prison funding in the war on contraband. “They need to see that there is a victim. I am the face of the victim,” Johnson said. “When you have inmates having access to unmonitored cellphones you are going to have problems.” They are expensive problems for South Carolina taxpayers, Stirling explained.

A managed access system to block illegal cell phone use? $522,000, and that’s just at one prison, Lee Correctional.

A system to detect drones flying in contraband? Another $240,000.

50-foot netting at 11 institutions around the state? Nearly $9,000,000.

“These folks are incarcerated physically, but virtually, they are out there and that’s a problem,” Stirling said.

But Stirling, Johnson and the South Carolina prison system aren’t fighting their battle against contraband alone.

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