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Prisoners get their own "cell" phones!!


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Prisoners get their own 'cell-phones'


By CHRISTOPHER LEAKE, Mail on Sunday Last updated at 21:43pm on 18th November 2006

davidavis171106_228x378.jpgDavid Davis: Shadow Home Secretary outraged that lags get phones.




Prisoners are being given phones in their cells to ring friends and family - and stop them feeling lonely

The controversial 'soft touch' has been introduced at privately run Lowdham Grange Category B prison in Nottinghamshire, which houses robbers and drug dealers.

Lowdham Grange, which opened in 1998 and is run by the services firm Serco, already provides its best behaved inmates with in-cell satellite TVs and showers.

The jail has even earned the nickname "Butlins' because of the facilities it offers prisoners.

The phones are likely to be installed in all the prison's 500 cells. Serco said last night that the phones would stop inmates having to queue while fellow prisoners used the jail's public phones.

But they insisted the inmates would receive no extra phone credits, which they use to make calls.

Spokesman Mike Clarke insisted the in-cell phones were not a luxury, saying: "Contact with families can help reduce reoffending. Prisoners can ring their child before they go to bed at night. If they are feeling suicidal, they can ring family members late at night and chat to them."

But one Lowdham inmate said: "My cell is actually more luxurious than my first bedsit; clean, modern and with duvets, posters, rugs and a DVD player to make it even more homely."

Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said last night that prisons should exist to provide punishment and rehabilitation for offenders.

"The way to achieve this is to provide sufficient prison places. It is not to give them access to phones,' he added.

Norman Brennan, director of the Victims of Crime Trust, said: "We should make prison a place that people do not want to go back to.

"This sort of thing causes people to lose faith in the criminal justice system."

Last night, the Home Office said there were no plans for 'in-cell' telephones at public-sector jails.

"This a matter for Serco, but we understand prisoners will be able to make calls only at predetermined times."

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