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Prisons: Telephone Services

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 53201, tabled on 22 September 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to Annual Report of the Independent Monitoring Board at HMP Stafford, published on 21 September 2021, whether the free 0800 phone number used for Independent Monitoring Board applications will be continued.

Answered on

21 October 2021

Introduced as part of the response to the pandemic, the free 0800 phone number has made Independent Monitoring Boards (IMBs) more accessible to prisoners. The IMB Management Board agreed in September 2021 to extend the use of the free 0800 phone number for a further 12 months.

This phone line has been enabled in all prisons in England and Wales and they are open six days a week. Calls are answered by IMB members.

The overall use of the phone line varies between establishments depending on the extent of publicity and promotion by local IMB boards. The service was a key part of the IMBs response to the COVID-19 pandemic and is actively used by over fifty prisons in England and Wales in any month. Since inception over 12,000 calls have been received and over 100 volunteers have taken calls.