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A reformed criminal believes lags should be allowed mobile phones so they can make calls to loved ones from the privacy of their cells.
Richard Jones, who went from respected soldier to notorious cocaine kingpin, believes phones would allow inmates to feel more human.
He said implementing restricted hand-held devices across British prisons would be “a big deal” for inmates locked away for Christmas and family birthdays.
And Jones, 51, told the Daily Star: “These phones are invaluable and the public needs to be aware that it’s not about selling drugs or anything untoward.
“It is simply about speaking to your kids on Christmas Day or on their birthday.
“On Christmas you are still only allowed access to a phone maybe once or twice during the day so that isolates you by having to make calls at a certain time.
“There is nothing worse than ringing home from the landing and you ask ‘how is it going' and they are just putting the dinner on and you have to call back in 10 minutes but you can’t.
“All of a sudden there is an argument and Christmas is ruined.”
According to the Sun, secure phones will be handed out to thousands of prisoners and will be unveiled in a Prison White paper later in the year.
Jones, from Bristol, would approve of the proposal, adding: “If you had a phone in your cell you could make that call back in 10 minutes and that is like normality which makes a big difference to the person inside, the person outside and to their kids and families, it is just huge.”
The Ministry of Justice say inmates who maintain family ties are 40 per cent less likely to reoffend.
Jones spent 15 years in organised crime and was part of a gang that smuggled more than £3 million worth of cocaine from London to Gloucestershire and Bristol for distribution.
He was given a 15-year sentence in 2012 after being convicted of conspiracy to supply cocaine.
While serving in HMP Oakwood Jones was permitted access to a standard cordless phone.
And he said this allowed him privacy when his dad became seriously ill.
Jones said: “I was able to sit in my cell and speak to my wife at the time about my dad’s condition and I could be prepared for the bad news if it was going to be upsetting.
“I wouldn’t be with 40 or 50 blokes wondering ‘why is that man in bits’.”
And the former soldier, who has written a book called Charlie Four Kilo, said he saw the benefits phones had on other prisoners too.
He said: “I had a co-defendant when I was there and he would spend a lot of time on the phone and he would put his son on the phone while his boy was watching a film and they would talk about it.
“It cost the earth in phone bills but it kept things going for him.”
These thoughts were echoed by Cody Lachey who spent two years behind bars before leaving in 2017.
He likes the ideas of prisoners having phones but said most won’t be able to afford to spend significant time making personal calls.
Lachey, 37, from Manchester, said: “I worked seven days a week in prison for a whopping £11.25 a week and they took £1 of that for a television.
“That left me with £10.25 a week to spend on the canteen to buy food, toiletries and phone credit.
“So even if I spent my full wages on phone credit I would only get about 26 minutes on a prison phone.”
- Prison News
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