A managed-access system designed to prevent prison inmates from making illegal cell-phone transmissions will be demonstrated next Wednesday as part of a media event being at the Mississippi State Penitentiary.

Although cell-phone use by inmates is prohibited, reports of contraband wireless devices in prisons continue to increase. With such devices, prisoners have coordinated myriad criminal activities, including escapes, drug deals and witness intimidation. In Mississippi, corrections officers confiscate thousands of illegal cell phones each year.

To combat the problem in the state penitentiary, the Mississippi Department of Corrections has worked with partner Global Tel-Link to install Tecore Networks’ Intelligent Network Access Controller (iNAC), which intercepts cell-phone transmissions in a defined area. The system is designed to prevent communications from unauthorized devices — such as contraband phones used by inmates — while allowing communications from authorized phones used by personnel such as prison employees.

The Mississippi installation marks the first deployment of a managed-access system in the United States, said Amit Malhotra, Tecore Networks’ vice president of marketing. The managed-access approach has received significant support from wireless carriers, but the Malhotra emphasized that all of the system’s equipment resides on the premises of the corrections facility and is controlled by prison personnel.

“We do coordinate the operations of the system with the carriers, but the carriers are not involved in the decisions about who is authorized [to make cell-phone calls] and who is not,” Malhotra said.

Speakers at Wednesday’s press conference will include Chris Epps, commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections; Jamie Barnett, chief of the FCC’s public safety and homeland security bureau; Jeffrey Haidinger, president of Global Tel-Link; and Bruce Portell, COO of Tecore Networks.