Scottish Government to crack down on mobile phones in prisons

Written by Jenni Davidson on 14 November 2017 in News

Illicit mobile phones can be used to conduct criminal activities or intimidate witnesses

Inside a prison - Image credit: Anthony Devlin/PA

The Scottish Government is planning to crack down on the use of mobile phones in prisons.

There are concerns that illicit mobile phones smuggled into prisons can be used to run illegal activities or to intimidate witnesses.

And while blocking technology exists, it will require legislation to enact a block on mobile phones.


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The Scottish Government’s Telecommunications Restrictions Orders (Custodial Institutions) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 will strengthen actions that can be taken against the use of mobile phones in Scotland jails.

These will include the use of technology to block active phones within prisons and court orders to remove phones from the network entirely.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson will give further details of plans to stop prisoners conducting criminal activity from behind bars when he gives evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee today.

Ahead of the session he said: “The unauthorised use of mobile phones in prisons potentially presents a serious threat to both the security of prisons and the wider public.

“The Scottish Government has already made changes to the law to create offences for the possession and introduction of mobile phones or their component parts to prisons and to allow interference with networks within two prisons to disrupt phone use.

“These regulations will further support our commitment to reducing the harm caused by illegal activity within our prisons.

“The irresponsible and illegal use of phones also causes offence to victims of crime and we are taking steps to reduce their use.”

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