Bristol prisoners to get in-cell phones and computers

Image source, PA
Image caption,
The scheme is being introduced at HMP Bristol

Prisoners in Bristol will soon have telephones and computers fitted inside their cells.

The scheme aims to combat mobile phones being smuggled illegally into prison.

Inmates at Category B HMP Bristol will no longer need to queue to use communal phones and will use the computers to order food from the canteen or book training courses.

All calls will be strictly monitored and the computers will not be connected to the internet.

The Independent Monitoring Board at HMP Bristol, said: "Prisoners who can keep in touch with family are far more likely to have their re-offending reduced.

"It also helps the prison target those who are using mobile phones for criminal activity more effectively."

Mark Fairhurst of the Prison Officer's Association said: "With the staffing shortages there is a lot frustration because when a prisoner asks a member of staff to do something it's usually a couple of days or a week later before they get an answer.

"If they've got the advantage of doing that in the cell they know that it's done and it takes away that frustration."

Every prison in England and Wales has been equipped with hand-held mobile phone detectors and portable detection poles as part of a £2 million investment.

More than 20,000 mobile phones and sim cards were recovered in a crackdown on prison contraband in 2016.

HMP Bristol can hold 614 prisoners, mainly adult men and some young offenders.

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