A West Yorkshire MP has launched a bid to close a "perverse and outrageous" loophole that allows criminals to reclaim confiscated mobile phones that they have smuggled into prison.
It follows a series of high-profile cases of inmates using illegally obtained mobile phones to update their Facebook pages, contact victims' families and even arrange a gangland murder from behind bars.
Today in the Commons, MPs backed plans put forward by Stuart Andrew, who represents Pudsey, to allow prison governors to destroy or sell phones confiscated from inmates and give profits to victims' groups.
– Stuart Andrew MP (Conservative, Pudsey)
We have heard countless stories recently of prisoners using smuggled mobile phones to send abusive messages to victims and it is a further insult to these victims that this property can be returned to their abusers upon their release.
– Jeremy Wright MP, Prisons Minister
This is property that should not be in prison in the first place, that is being used while it is in prison for a variety of nefarious purposes. Anything we can do to prevent that, we should do.
– Glyn Travis, Prison Officers Association
The POA welcome this Bill and believe it is long overdue. Staff do get frustrated when they work hard to confiscate contraband and then taunted by prisoners who use the loophole and force staff to store property for them for when they are released.