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Midlands prisoners flout new mobile phones ban

Birmingham | News | Published:

Hundreds of mobile phones have been discovered on prisoners across the region in just months since new laws made it a further crime for inmates to have them.

Prisoners risk extra time being tagged onto their sentences since the Crime & Security Act was passed in March. It aims to cut down on prisoners keeping in touch with their criminal contacts while inside.

Despite that threat, hundreds of inmates at prisons across the West Midlands and Staffordshire can today be revealed as flouting the new laws.

HMP Hewell tops the list, as 111 inmates have been found with phones, while 109 were found with phones at HMP Birmingham, in Winson Green.

At HMP Featherstone, checks revealed 38 convicts had phones, while a further five were found at Brinsford Young Offenders Institution and two at HMP Oakwood. Five inmates had phones in HMP Stafford while none were found at HMP Shrewsbury.

Despite a total of 280 discoveries of phones, there have been just 23 prosecutions so far for the crimes.

Sentences

At Hewell, in?Redditch, 17 of the prosecutions meant a combined 216 weeks extra time was tagged onto sentences. There were six prosecutions at Winson Green prison, but information was not available on how many weeks' extra time was added to inmates' sentences.

None of the other prisons prosecuted after the discoveries, made between March 26 and the end of September.

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The Ministry of Justice released a statement saying: "The National Offender Management Service takes the issue of mobile phones in prisons very seriously as they present serious risks to both the security of prisons and the safety of the public.

"They are used for a range of criminal purposes and are strongly associated with drug supply, violence and bullying."

By Alex Homer

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