State officials push for prison cell phone jamming

WASHINGTON (AP) - Texas and Maryland officials are urging Congress to approve legislation allowing states to jam illegal cell phones used by prisoners.

Texas State Sen. John Whitmire, whose life was threatened by a death row inmate with a cell phone, says prisons need jamming devices to fight a growing problem.

Maryland's top corrections official, Gary Maynard, is also scheduled to testify at a hearing Wednesday about the legislation. A Maryland inmate was sentenced to life without parole this year for using a cell phone to order the killing of a witness.

But critics say jamming devices could interfere with service to law-abiding citizens and with emergency response. Federal law currently doesn't allow states to use jamming equipment