Prisons: Telephones

(asked on 10th January 2024) - View Source

Question to the Ministry of Justice:

To ask His Majesty's Government what proportion of cells in (1) the female prison estate, and (2) the male prison estate, have in-cell telephony; and what proportion of cells in each prison have that facility.

Answered by
Lord Bellamy Portrait
Lord Bellamy
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
This question was answered on 24th January 2024

There are a total of 10 Women’s Public Sector Prisons (8 closed and 2 open) in England which are run by His Majesty’s Prison & Probation Service.

  • All cells in the 8 prisons within the women’s closed estate have 100% In-Cell Telephony.
  • Neither of the 2 prisons within the women’s open estate have any In-Cell Telephony, 0%.

There are a total of 97 Men’s Prisons (84 closed and 13 open) in England and Wales, which are run by His Majesty’s Prison & Probation Service.

Of the 84 closed men’s prisons:

  • 78 prisons have received In-Cell Telephony throughout, 100%.
  • 4 prisons are currently at the end of implementation, therefore these prisons are 98% live with In-Cell Telephony and should complete within the next two weeks.
  • 2 prisons are at implementation stage and are due to complete on February 24, therefore the proportion is currently 0%.

Of the 13 open men’s prisons:

  • 1 prison has In-Cell Telephony throughout, 100%.
  • 12 prisons do not have any In-Cell Telephony, 0%.

It is important to note that there are limitations to call usage on these devices. The PIN Phone system enables this as it can be configured on a site by site basis to best suit the needs of the site. This configuration applies to the time scales in which calls can be made, the number of calls which a single prisoner can make within those timescales and also the maximum amount of time the prisoner can spend on calls.

Additionally, each prisoner is issued a unique PIN number which they will use to make outside calls. These PIN numbers are pre-loaded with calling credit and also contain pre-approved numbers which security have sanctioned for the prisoner to use. The prison can configure the system to decide when the phones will be available to the prisoner. Support frameworks such as the Samaritans are accessible 24hrs a day via a dedicated PIN number which is available to prisoners.

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