Phone jammers call for local prisons

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Entrance to Walton Jail   © Trinity Mirror

Entrance to Walton Jail © Trinity Mirror

Phone jammers should be installed in prisons across Merseyside to stop inmates continuing criminal activities from the inside, according to a new report.

This is one of the two key findings of an independent annual report into prisons across Merseyside.  The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) spoke of “continuing concern” into the possession of illicit mobile phones being smuggled into prisons.

Altcourse Prison, which is run by private outfit G4S and houses up to 1,204 inmates, confiscated at least 637 phones, SIM cards and handsets between 2010 and 2011, a freedom of information request showed.

IMB has called for a signal deviator, a device that would block mobile phone transmissions, to combat prisoners having the ability to connect with the outside. This is highly desired by many inmates and illicit mobile phones can be bought for up to £200 inside Merseyside prisons.

An IMB report in July 2012 stated: “Boards do not understand why the problem is not addressed more robustly when the technology to do so is available and plugging this security gap would create significant savings in both financial and human terms, not to mention improving the security of prisons.”

A spokesperson from G4S told JMU Journalism: “It’s illegal to possess a mobile in prison and we regularly work with police to bring prosecutions against prisoners who have been found with a phone, as well as those people who try and bring them in from the outside.

“We are pleased with the progress we have made so far to stop mobile phones being smuggled in but appreciate that this is an ongoing task that requires continuous review and assessment.”

The annual report also found that netting around all of the exercise yards was long overdue to prevent other contraband being brought into the premises.





About Hazel Miller, JMU Journalism