UK prisons ‘awash’ with smuggled telephones and SIM cards

A prison guard walks along a corridor in HMP Berwyn Symbol copyright Dan Kitwood/Getty Pictures Image caption “We’re also taking decisive action to search out and block mobile phones” – Prison Carrier spokesman

A Minimum Of 15,000 cell phones or SIM playing cards were confiscated in English and Welsh prisons remaining yr, equivalent to one for each six inmates.

Phones are utilized by a few prisoners to reserve medicine and co-ordinate criminal activity inside and out of doors jail.

A penal reform charity mentioned the federal government had didn’t take on the foundation of the issue.

The Jail Provider mentioned advanced security measures had resulted in extra confiscations.

The BBC’s Shared Data Unit in comparison figures for the period 2010-2014 and 2017 from ministers’ solutions to written questions in Parliament, Freedom Of Knowledge requests to jail products and services in Scotland and northern Eire and published prison inhabitants figures.

Image copyright PA Image caption Acid attacker Arthur Collins wanted to make calls with a smuggled phone approximately his newborn daughter

what’s being done?

New measures to clamp down on violence and the smuggling of illegal medicine, telephones and guns in prisons have been unveiled by way of the government in March.

The National Crime Agency says one in THIRTEEN inmates have organised crime links.

It estimates some of those 6,500 offenders continue to be desirous about illegal activity behind bars, together with controlling the supply of banned items like telephones, and unlawful items like medication and guns, which can be blamed for fuelling instability.

Frances Crook, leader govt of The Howard League for Penal Reform, said the only method to keep watch over the illegal business within used to be to take on its causes.

She said other pay phones to be had behind bars didn’t permit inmates privateness to talk to their households, were all the time fashionable and were charged at a charge that was once too pricey.

“If prisoners had higher get right of entry to to telephones, the massive business in smuggling them in might forestall and personnel could pay attention to preventing the inflow of telephones being used for crime,” she mentioned.

Private prisons had “led the way” by providing telephones in cells with cheap suppliers where calls is also monitored and security dangers controlled, she added.

Peter Dawson, director of the Jail Reform Consider, said: “Understanding what number of phones are seized is crucial part of the tale, but what’s doubtful is what number of of the calls made on illegal mobiles in prisons are through other people trying to stay involved with their families.

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“Whilst an individual can spend their entire week’s prison salary in only 30 minutes on a prison telephone, and has one hour a day once they can sign up for the queue to accomplish that, it isn’t unexpected that the call for for illicit handsets is high.”

The Jail Carrier said: “These data display that we are effectively stopping contraband from entering the jail property.

“On The Other Hand, we acknowledge that extra need to be performed and as Minister Rory Stewart has up to now said, there are just 5 tactics during which contraband can be smuggled into prisons and we’re taking steps to take on all 5.

“We’ve Got addressed flying contraband in through tackling drones, the throwing over of items by the use of nets and searches, the dragging in of items by picking wires and the posting of gear by photocopying letters.

“We Are additionally taking decisive action to find and block cell phones, including a £2m investment in detection equipment. we’ve got legislated to prevent telephones from getting used in prisons.”

Extra approximately this story

The Shared Data Unit makes information journalism to be had to information companies around the media business, as a part of a partnership among the BBC and the news Media Association.

For more information on technique, click on right here. For the full dataset, click on right here.

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