Prisoners to get phones in cells? A prank call surely

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There are calls for prisoners to be given landlines in their cells this week according to a report by a think tank but I can’t understand the logic behind this.

The report published by Reform Scotland yesterday (Wednesday) said that staying in contact with loved ones behind bars would help reduce the risk of re-offending.

Alison Payne, research director for Reform Scotland, said: “Prison exists for four key reasons – punishment, deterrence, public safety and rehabilitation. The fourth – rehabilitation – does not always receive the attention it deserves.”

She added: “If family contact helps to reduce re-offending, as well as helping those left outside, then it is something that needs to be encouraged.”

Well that certainly might be one way of looking at it, but there is also the increased risk of prisoners using these phones for malicious purposes such as to continue their offending by running their criminal organisation from the inside or intimidating victims or witnesses.

If prisoners want to be close with their families then perhaps they should have thought twice about committing the offence in the first place. As the old saying goes if you can’t do the time then don’t do the crime.

Listen, it’s good that prisons are no longer like the brutality witnessed in the Shawshank Redemption, and the horrible process of ‘slopping out’ has been banned, but neither should it be a holiday camp which some prisoners believe it to be. They already have gym facilities, flatscreen TVs and other privileges having a phone in a cell is a step too far.

Thankfully the prison service in Scotland has said there are no plans to introduce in-cell telephones.

Back to the drawing board I think with this one.