If you are a serving prisoner you are caught in possession of a mobile phone you can be sentenced to a further 2 years in prison and hit with an unlimited fine.
Now the Government plans to do more. They intend to introduce a law which will compel the mobile network operators to disconnect the phones of offenders.
To the vast majority of prisoners the possession of mobile phones by some other prisoners is actually deplored. They lead to random room searches, body searches, fights, arguments and allegations of “grassing”.
And yet the Government admits that the problem is so widespread that they are having to toughen up the existing laws. The issue, you see, is that the owners of these mobiles sometimes use them to organise crimes. And it is a widespread problem-around 130 mobile phones are seized every week.
So what is the elephant in the room?
Here’s a clue-how do all these mobiles find their way into the most security-conscious establishments in the country?
Let’s examine how difficult it is to smuggle a mobile phone into a prison. Every new prisoner is extensively searched on arrival, their possessions logged and bagged. Body orifices are also checked using a sophisticated BOSS chair (Body Orifice Security Scanner). An expensive and complicated piece of kit which does exactly what it says on the tin. No chance of a mobile slipping through the net this way then.
What about visiting times? No chance there either-prisoners are searched entering and leaving the visiting hall. Some of them are strip searched. Visitors are searched too.
What about posting the mobile, hidden in clothes, books or whatever? Please. Every item posted to a prisoner is carefully checked before it is handed over. And most items, like books, are banned anyway.
By a process of elimination that means that a significant number of phones are delivered to inmates by people who are employed by the Prison Service.
That’s the elephant in the room.