Technology is being trialled that will make mobile phones unusable on the inside after more than 7000 phones and Sims were uncovered last year
The House of Lords is to rule on a new Bill that will see mobile phone signals blocked in prisons.
Last year alone over seven thousands illicit phones and Sim cards were found in prisons. It is hoped that by blocking and disrupting mobile phone signals in prisons there will be a reduction in the supply of drugs and contraband, while also impeding the intimidation of witnesses by inmates.
The Prison Service has been trailing technology to block mobile phone signals inside prisons while working with networks and Ofcom to ensure that the blocks don't interfere with phones outside prison walls.
Prison Minister Jeremy Wright said he was determined to address the risks posed by mobile phones in prisons.
"Prisons work hard to tackle the consequences of phones in prison but clearly the problem persists. This will be an invaluable tool to combat this serious issue," he said.
Restricted access: technology in prison
Giving prisoners access to technology helps them prepare for life on the outside, although strict restrictions are in place to control what they can do.
Prisoners are only allowed access to computers for employment, education and in exceptional circumstances legal purposes.
"Prison governors have discretion to allow prisoners supervised access to computers for educational purposes, but only where it can be done without undue risk to security," a prison service spokesperson explained.
"Prisoners who are permitted to use a computer must be risk assessed and adhere to a strict set of rules at all times."
All access to the internet is controlled and monitored, with prisoners using specially adapted websites that prevent links to unauthorised material such as pornography.
The prison service said that they had a duty to encourage prisoners to use their time constructively and prepare them for release. Technology can also help improve job prospects and reduce the chances of reoffending.
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