Technology to block mobiles in prisons too expensive
Friday 03 January 2014
Prisoners can continue to use smuggled phones because the Ministry of Justice says jamming equipment is “prohibitively expensive”.
Illegal mobiles are used by prisoners to order violent attacks, harass victims and maintain links with criminal gangs and extremists, the ministry has said.
n 2012 alone, the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) was told 6,959 illegal phones and sim cards were found in English and Welsh prisons.
In a speech last year, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said the Government wanted to introduce tougher penalties for those caught with mobiles.
The Government subsequently passed legislation authorising prison governors to use technology to disrupt the use of phones in prisons.
But documents from the MoJ states the technology is "prohibitively expensive", although a spokesman for the department insists they have used signal jammers in trials across the country.
Officials have now commissioned a research project costing up to £70,000, during which prisoners will be interviewed to find out why they use smuggled phones.
Where prisoners are found to use their phones for low risk calls, such as contacting relatives and friends, they could avoid being targeted by the authorities.
This is because the focus is set to fall on offenders using their mobiles for "dangerous" criminal activity.
There is no suggestion that if they are caught using a mobile to contact their family they will avoid punishment.
Once they have carried out the research, officials will consider cheaper alternatives to the "jamming" technology.
The details are contained in a document sent out by the MoJ advertising the research project to companies.
The publicly available advertisement says the effort and resources dedicated to finding phones in prisons varies in each jail.
It states: "Since a net increase in resources is not feasible, it seems logical to target existing resources at the mobile phone usage that poses the greatest risks (eg organised crime).
"This research project will help us to understand what mobile phones are used for, and therefore what proportion falls into this higher risk category.
"This will help NOMS to build a policy around reducing / eradicating the potentially most dangerous mobile phone usage at a time of scarce resources."
According to the MoJ paperwork, inmates from at least 15 prisons are expected to be interviewed as part of the research, which starts this month.
Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
- 1 Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
- 2 Art Garfunkel calls Paul Simon a 'monster' with a Napoleon complex
- 3 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 4 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says