The Department of Correctional Services is close to issuing tenders for the country’s first mobile jamming system to be deployed in Lithgow jail.
It follows successful laboratory tests of the equipment and months of waiting for regulatory approval.
The tests doused community concerns that the jamming signals could seep into areas surrounding the jail.
It proved that the jamming radius could be contained within the jail borders.
But the department must first renew its licence for a live trial of the restricted technology through the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
It was expected to approve the temporary permit for the 12 month trial at Lithgow jail because it had already approved laboratory tests.
Lithgow jail project manager Mark Wilson said CJAM jammers would be deployed in the prison.
“The tests found it was able to jam signals at a very precise perimeter,” Wilson said.
Pending approval from the communications watchdog, the department will issue tenders for a technical specialist, supply of the system and installation.
If successful, the jammers could be deployed in prisons across the state under the NSW Government’s efforts to crack down on illegal mobile phone use by inmates.
Many of the state’s jails already use modern technology such as iris recognition to maintain security.
Biometrics were used to keep tabs on people moving in and out of state jails.
Sniffer dogs have been used in the past to detect mobile phones.