COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Two weeks ago, a local attorney was arrested and charged with smuggling contraband – including cell phones – into the Muscogee County Jail.

Cell phones in jails and correctional facilities are a big problem in Georgia – and the state’s top attorney is trying to address it.

Attorney General Chris Carr has seen the problem first-hand, and he knows cell phones cause big issues when in the hands of those who are incarcerated.

And he’s working with Attorneys General across the country to do something about it.

“If we want to tackle the issue of crime within the corrections system, the federal government’s got to change the law to allow us to jam cell phones,” Carr said. “Our private sector partners have got to work with us so we can jam cell phones.”

Carr and more than 20 attorneys general from across the country are asking for a change in federal law that allows them to jam cell phone signals inside correctional institutions. A bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Arkansas’ Tom Cotton (R) late last month.

“Because, again, you’ve got violent crime that can be directed from inside a prison,” Carr said. “You’ve got scams that can be directed. But again, nobody’s going to want to smuggle in a cell phone if the cell phone doesn’t work.”

Last year the Georgia Department of Corrections conducted 126 full-facility shakedowns. They found more than 8,000 cell phones during those searches. 

The issue hits close to home here in Columbus.

On March 30, attorney Alan Jones was arrested after a sting operation inside the Muscogee County Jail. He’s accused of trying to smuggle contraband including multiple cellphones to an inmate facing a murder charge inside the jail.

District Attorney Stacey Jackson is aware of what Carr is working to accomplish. He wants that ability to extend to facilities such as the Muscogee County Jail.

“Well, one thing we have to prevent cell phones from getting into the county jail,” Jackson said. “That’s problem No. 1. But if in the event that occurs that the ability to jam those cell phones would definitely prevent individuals from continuing their current activities, and also it would cause less risk to officers and also it would interrupt the individual’s ability to try to disrupt our efforts to try the case.”