HOUSTON (AP) – Two Texas prisons that have had serious problems with cellphones being smuggled to inmates are getting a system to block phone calls coming from inside the lockups.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice Executive Director Brad Livingston says the new “managed access system” will allow calls from inside only to approved numbers. Under federal law, overall electronic phone jamming devices are illegal.

The Stiles Unit in Beaumont and the McConnell Unit in Beeville have been the worst for contraband phones and will get the blocking system by the end of the year. The system works through the vendor that handles pay phone calls made by inmates in all 111 state prisons.

The problem of smuggled phones drew attention four years ago when a death row inmate phoned a threat to a legislator.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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