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Prisoners: Access to Telephones

Volume 656: debated on Tuesday 12 March 2019

We need to prevent these mobile phones from getting into prison. That is not always easy, because some of the new phones are almost just an inch in size. This work involves not just metal detectors, but X-ray scanners that can look inside bodies. If these phones get inside prisons, we need to identify them, we need to intercept the calls and block them, and we need to seize the phones.

I thank the Minister for that reply. Does he agree that, where prisoners use mobile phones to send vile messages to the families of their victims, social media giants such as Snapchat must take responsibility and help the police to bring the culprits to justice?

First, using a mobile phone in a prison is an illegal act. It is a horrifying thing to harass victims using a phone from prison. It is entirely illegal, and we will be working with colleagues from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to draw the attention of these social media companies to the fact that illegal action is taking place through their systems.