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Prisons: Telephones

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 11653, tabled on 1 June 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how much the Government has spent on installing in cell telephones on the prison estate in the last five years.

Answered on

10 June 2022

The Government has spent £36.34m on installing in cell telephony on the prison estate in the past 5 years. This technology is vital in boosting prisoners’ rehabilitation prospects, as it helps them maintain family ties and access the support they need to stay away from crime on release.

In-cell telephony has also reduced the need for prisoners to share communal pin phones, which can be potential trigger points for violence, arising from prisoners queuing for public phones on the landings. Disagreements around communal phones can in turn fuel demand for illicit mobile phones.

All calls remain restricted to pre-approved numbers only, and public protection and safeguarding factors have been considered prior to the number being approved by the prison. All calls are recorded for the purpose of call monitoring, with the exception of legal calls and support lines such as the Samaritans. Phones are active during the agreed operating times specified by the prison.