Changes to the pin phone system – March 2013
Up till now, there have been two systems for allowing numbers on to a prisoners pin account – ‘call barring’ and ‘call enabling’. All prisons are now moving to a ‘call enabling’ system. This will be in place by the end of February. This means that people will be required to tell the prison the numbers that they wish to call and will not be allowed to call any others.
Up till now, there have been two systems for allowing numbers on to a prisoners pin account – ‘call barring’ and ‘call enabling’. Call barring is the system when some numbers are barred on an account but the prisoner can call all other numbers. Call enabling is the system where all numbers are security cleared before they are put on to the pin phone account. All prisons are now moving to a ‘call enabling’ system. This will be in place by the end of February. This means that people will be required to tell the prison the numbers that they wish to call and will not be allowed to call any others.
The prison service say there are three reasons for changing the system.
Firstly, they should help to stop legal calls being listened to when they shouldn’t be.
Legal professional privilege (LPP) is an important right and should be protected. The only times that these calls can be recorded or monitored is when there is evidence of criminal activity. The decision to monitor these calls has to be taken by head office. The prison service says that it is more likely that legal calls may be listened to by mistake when prisons use the call barring system. This is because prisoners can call any number except a barred number.
Secondly, at the moment some prisons have a mixed pin phone system, so some people are call enabled and some call barred in the same establishment. The prison service is concerned that sometimes this can lead to intimidation by those on the call enabling system, asking other prisoners to call numbers they are not permitted to contact.
Lastly, they believe that putting in place measures that require people to name their social contacts for the pin phone system will help to prevent crime
The prison service explain that at the moment, only 0.5% of prisoners on call barring regularly contact 20 or more phone numbers. There will still be an option for prisoners to apply for more than 20 social numbers on their PIN phone account,
Prisoners will be allowed 15 legal/confidential numbers. This does not include globally allowed numbers, such as PRT. If someone has ongoing legal cases they can apply for 15 more legal numbers. In very exceptional situations, governors can allow more than 30 legal numbers. Prisoners are allowed 20 social numbers, as well as globally and locally allowed numbers.
The numbers list can be changed regularly and prisons should make sure that they have systems in place to deal with requests from prisoners to change numbers promptly and also that they let the prisoner know what action has been taken.
All prisoners will be under the same security arrangements. Legal and confidential numbers that prisoners request to go on their pin account will be checked and verified. Social numbers will be checked as necessary, depending on the risk assessment of the prisoner. People who are subject to public protection restrictions and category A prisoners will have all their requested numbers checked before they are allowed on to the pin. Governors can decide that other prisoners should have their social numbers checked if they have information that this is needed.
from insidetime issue March 2013