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Congress calls on FCC to quell prison cellphone problem

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — More than 50 members of Congress are calling on federal regulators to come up with a solution to combat cellphones in the nation's prisons.

In a letter obtained Thursday by The Associated Press, 48 House members and four U.S. senators wrote to the Federal Communications Commission that addressing the security threat posed by contraband cellphones is "an issue of critical importance."

The signees ask the FCC to set up a meeting with state prison officials, cellphone companies and the FBI, and to report back to Congress on their progress.

The action follows letters by a top official with the U.S. Department of Justice and by South Carolina Corrections Director Bryan Stirling describing the dangers posed by inmates' unfettered ability to communicate with each other and the outside world.

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