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back to article BT and Siemens slammed over prisoner call rates

BT and Siemens are facing a "super-complaint" over how much they charge prisoners to make phone calls. BT provides the service in England and Wales while Siemens does the same for people in Scottish prisons. The National Consumer Council and sister organisations for Scotland and Wales, as well as the Prison Reform Trust (PRT) …

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Anonymous Coward

Unfair?

The answer is simple. DON'T COMMIT CRIMES!

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Anonymous Coward

a guide to cheaper phone calls ...

DON'T BE A CRIMINAL !!

the less contact the criminals have with the outside world the better.

in fact, just bang them up in a darkened cellar and wait for them to die, it's not exaclt going to be a great loss to the human race now is it

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Coat

Will I be the first ?

Is the pricing thus because the providers have a ..... captive market....

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Anonymous Coward

WTF?????

Phones in prisons? Are you serious?

Get rid of the things. Prison is supposed to be difficult. Or at least put the prices up so that only the tory peers can afford them. All the rest of them do is order drugs on the phones anyway.

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HMMM

as someone who has done some time in klink i think this will be welcomed.

10 years ago when i was in the pricing was ridiculous. basic wage @ hmp liverpool = £3/week. phonecards were £2 and since i lived 200 miles from nick i had long distance charges. a £2 card lasted about 10 mins!

no wonder along with tobacco and narcotics that phone cards are used as currency inside.

i know i will get loads of daily hail readers moaning that all crims should be exterminated or locked in coffins and buried etc. but there are a lot od ok people inside who just made the odd mistake.

for me the punishment of prison is being away from family and friends and having no social life.. not being unable to call loved ones, see loved ones (1 hour visit / month in hmp liverpool back then!) and the obligotary abuse from screws (theft, racial abuse, violence etc)...

still.. according to the papers they all have TVs, duvets and champagne dont they now... :)

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Go

Why should we care?

It sounds like good business to me! And why shouldn't businesses try to make a pound a phone call from people who have committed crimes within the UK. It's just a shame it's all privatised now or it could have been worked into the prisoners paying something back to us.

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Paris Hilton

Skype

Just give them Skype? They can even hide secret stuff in the data stream?

Paris - because she knows about the slammer

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Bronze badge

Sod 'em.

So what, they're in prision, maybe they deserve to be stitched.

If it was down to me they'd have far less facilities than they get now - often they have more than your average joe in many respects. They did the crime, sod 'em.

No wonder many re-offend, they get a better life in prison than out.

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They have it easy

Hospitals charge patients more than that calls at 70p/min and a tv for £2.50/day (in prison it cost 50p/day)

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Flame

Get to the back of the queue

The PRT can get to the back of the queue.

Ofcom needs to sort out the problem of ISP customers being spied on by Phorm, text spamming, premium rate scams, and hospital patients being ripped off by Patientline *before* they worry about convicted criminals getting a dose of their own medicine.

In other words, they should deal with the crooks ripping off law abiding citizens *before* worrying about the crooks being ripped off themselves.

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Arse...

Is what they are talking out of...

"The public payphone service does not require the same level of investment in systems and security features which are essential to meet the requirements of the Prison Service."

It may cost a little more to set up, but I can bet it gets alot more use and alot less abuse.

What they mean is "If we charge to much for pay phones people wont use them, but if we can do what we like when they have no choice."

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Coat

Missed a trick?

How could you not find a use for a "cell" pun in there somewhere? Come on El Reg!

Mine's the one with the upward pointing arrows and the large serial number.

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My heart bleeds

So, its not OK for prisoners to have to pay excessive call charges, when they are where they are as a direct result of their own actions, whilst it is OK for hospital patients to be completely ripped off on call charges when many are where they are through no fault of their own?

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no sympathy

As a Home Secretary once said 'if you don't want the time, don't do the crime'

Geez, they are fed, watered, get access to TVs and a bed for the night at our expense, what more do they want?

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Anonymous Coward

Suprised the BT Execs allow this

When they all get sent to jail for the illegal Phorm trials, they will be thankful of the reduced rates

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Easy

Don't let them have phones. There, now they can't complain it's too expensive.

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Silver badge
Alien

dDeep Underground CyberIntelAIgents ...... Mars Core 4 Some, Venus Centre 2 Others

Free Telecommunications... Free Inside Intelligence ..... Cleaner Networks for Beta Business Myth Methodology.

And that's AI Beta and not just Promise Programming........ and that is quite enough for now. Hunger beckons Refreshment.

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Stop

Oh dear poor sumbags

Sorry but it looks like they are being made to pay in more ways than one .

They broke the law so fair goes out the window in my book .

Prison is a cushy number for most .If they want to make calls at the rates normal decent people do then try being one .

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I realise...

...that there'll be the standard frothing from the more Daily Fail-inclined readers, but good thing too. These exorbitant rates frequently have to be met by the prisoner's family who are often in dire financial circumstances themselves, and who haven't been convicted of any wrongdoing.

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Coat

No surprise....

They have a captive market!

Mine's the one with the arrows on.....

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Joke

Talk about a captive audience

title says all

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Paris Hilton

Once Upon a Time...

I'd have been less than sympathetic. Comments along the lines of "Oh Boo -hoo, poor likkle mites, oh no - it's a FRIKKIN' PRISON!!! Don't be a frikkin' criminal, and you won't be there, and you can phone who the frick you like!" would have appeared. I'd have made comparisons with the one in Arizona run by Joe Arpaio, etc etc.

Unfortunately, with the way things are going, where people are criminalised for the most ridiculous of things, my perspective is changing. I might need cheap calls from prison sometime soon - after all, I have a camera in my mobile, and have been known to take pictures of Churches (I like the architecture), which obviously makes me a "terrywrist" and liable to be banged up for 6 weeks without even being told why...

<---I'd bang Paris up....

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Coat

hmmm 2

wow!

didnt realise how many fascists we have in here. gotta admit im dissapointed. so much for the rehabilitation route eh.

i dont know ANYONE who is better outside than inside. you lot really ought to stop reading the papers you know.

remember is hospital you get to have visits. not just once a month so you need to keep in touch with family somehow! you are also not sent to hospitals 200 miles away just to fuck you up like the jail service do

remember that you can now get sent down for the following henus crimes:

:: not paying unfair council tax (i.e. how they manage to force payments from people who are unemployed or students)

:: smoking 'killer' weed

:: demonstrating peacefully

now, i know that a lot of people in prison are baaad people, but there also pseudo political prisoners, such as those related to drug offences..

having 20 pills on me got me 18months in a class A jail (rapists, paedos, murderers and psychos). this is all for a substance that is less dangerous than alcohol (read lancet reports et al) and kills less people a year in this country than peanuts do at xmas!

so, not all people deserve to be killed or left to rot like you lot seem to think.

oh, and according to you lot we should have killed off stephen fry and many other people we like than have been in clink

dont worry... mine's flameproof

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Remand

I presume this also applies to remand prisoners, who have not actually been convicted. So how does the argument "if they don't like it they should have thought before they committed a crime" apply there?

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M

Excuse me!....

....WTF is that the prisoner having moblie phone!

Feck them! Take it away, they break the fecking law and then demand that they have right to ring Pizzahut for a 18" Pizza with hidden dope in it...

What.....

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Law
Paris Hilton

OMG

Boo freaking hoo..... seriously - they are prisoners, they should be thankful we let them have out-going phone calls.

Why is anybody looking at this, and not the fact that the cost of a phone call in an NHS hospital (you know the ones, the nice phones by the bed).

Those phones charged my bed-ridden mother £1 a minute for a local call, a woman who wasn't allowed to use a mobile in the hospital, leave her bed to use a pay phone, or use the desk phone either. When I asked her about it all - she said she had to top-up her bed with £10 for the TV to even work, and they charged her per day for that too, wonder if the prisoners get free tv too?

Why don't we make the prisoners pay this scandalous amount to subsidise the cost of the NHS system, that way they can charge vulnerable, lonely, poor and often frightened patients a reasonable fee, something the criminals seem to be getting and complaining about. They had a choice, crime and prison, or not - NHS patients usually don't get to pick and choose whether they are stuck in hospital or not - so why are the prisoners getting the frills.

Paris - because prison didn't seem to do her any harm.

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Anonymous Coward

bleeding heart

Here's the news for the mouth breathers that NEED TO TYPE IN UPPER CASE !!

Criminals with access to their families via phones are less likely to reoffend than those who don't.

It also eases things a little for the families at home - unless you think it's ok to punish the children for the actions of their parents.

If you want to break the cycle of offended for individuals and across generations then it's a simple and effective and cheap solution. Unless you're a BT shareholder.

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@ pctechxp

"As a Home Secretary once said 'if you don't want the time, don't do the crime'"

yes, and our current home secretary has admitted breaking the law and doing things that she wants people to be jailed for... nice to see double standards eh!

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Alert

@no sympathy

I've been ripped off as much as the next person in my life, and certainly at the time, no fate was too awful for the a@@hole that did it. However, you treat people like animals and legally rip them off, then expect them to be happy, well-adjusted, and not commit any more crimes, after being f'd up the arse both literally and legally? I don't have the answer, but lumping everyone in the same group (repeat offenders with those that have just made a dumb decision) surely isn't the answer. What if it was your kid or spouse that landed in there? And please don't drag out the old tired line that if they were innocent, they wouldn't be in there. IMHO, you have to at least TRY to treat people like humans if you expect them to behave like humans.

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Pirate

@ no sympathy

"Geez, they are fed, watered, get access to TVs and a bed for the night at our expense, what more do they want?"

Sounds just like a zoo for captured animals and they're probably just as confused if their view of the world is confined by poor education and dull imagination. What the World Wide Web has to Offer may be Totally Alien to them Creating AI Virgin Market for Trainers in Virtualised Systems for Real Insider XXXXStreaming...... Perceptions Management and Mentoring.

Pretty Heady Stuff.

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Dan

The responses are so predictable...

Not everyone in prison is a monster. In fact, the vast majority of prisoners are ordinary people like you and me who did something stupid and are already being punished appropriately. We are all capable of commiting crimes. Why this need to label prisoners as "sub-human" and torture them?

Anyhow, you are missing the point. The criticism is not only that prisoners are being treated unfairly, the criticism is that BT is making a big profit because it has been granted exclusive rights by the government to tap into a government-controlled resource.

I say, bring the free market into prisons and allow all prisoners serving for minor offenses to own mobile phones.

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Screw the lags

Why the hell should they get any perks?

They.Are.In.Fucking.Jail.For.A.Fucking.Reason

Burn them

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Flame

You lot sound like a bunch of fascists

What is prison supposed to be about? No, it's not primarily punishment (although that is a factor) it is supposed to be about reducing the level of crime in our communities. The most effective way to do this for those in criminal justice system is to help them to not re-offend. At the moment, the only tactic that is employed is that of deterrence - commit a crime, we'll catch you and lock you up. Clearly, this has already failed since they're in nick in the first place.

Other countries within Europe have a completely different set of priorities, e.g. Sweden, The Netherlands, etc. Their focus is on reducing the re-offending rate through education, training, pyschological treatments, etc. The reasoning is that although it may cost upfront to provide these services, the cost to society overall is significantly lower because the costs of investigating, prosecuting and jailing criminals are so reduced.

Don't believe me? Look at the crime figures for yourself.

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Flame

Re:HMMM

***"i know i will get loads of daily hail readers moaning that all crims should be exterminated or locked in coffins and buried etc. but there are a lot od ok people inside who just made the odd mistake."***

No there aren't. You don't get banged up for making 'the odd mistake'. You either have to commit a *serious* crime or be a repeat offender who has used up his 40 or so last chances.

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Paris Hilton

Solution

As a crim, can you nominate 0800-REVERSE as one of your allowed numbers? :o)

Paris, because she likes it in reverse. Or something.

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Coat

hmmm

@ M

"....WTF is that the prisoner having moblie phone!"

wtf? maybe you need remedial reading/writing course before getting on your high horse mate. i guess since almost everyone here speeds that we should all be locked up for breaking the law! remember just because someone is in jail and might be a bad guy, they also have families and kids (Often lots of kids). you need to allow dads to call their familes once a week! you lot really do sound like a bunch of nazis today!

and btw - its smack inside not dope, to do with 28 days leaving your system over 2/3 days. the problem is we are CREATING heroine users in jail. not helping anyone!

maybe we should be looking at why BT can put in a phone system in a jail a DAMN SITE cheaper than the ripoff hospital phone company can. i guess some labour cronies got their mates a good deal on that one eh! we shouldnt be penalising conns for hospitals ripping patients off.. thats totally unfair and completely unrelated!

and btw - from my experience only a handful of jails let cons have TVs. most conns are locked up 23 hours a day and maybe get 4 hours/week of TV and being able to use the phone

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IT Angle

Think about IT!

Pretty soon most of you will be serving 10 years in the slammer for sending that "I'm HOT for YOU Babe!" text to the wrong cell number! You'll piss and moan that you were innocent and rage against the unfair costs of just talking to your familiy AND lawyer trying to get you out and the rest of us will just say, "You did the CRIME, suffer the consequences!"

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@Gordon Pryra

To reply to your erudite and eloquent comment, a significant minority of people in jail are a) there on remand and have yet to be convicted of any crime and b) suffering from various forms of mental illness.

Presumably if a mentally ill relative of yours was being held on remand after a false or misunderstood accusation, you'd want them burnt too?

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Unhappy

some real charmers

How cares what actually gets results in rehabilitation when you can just have a little wank over your own glorious self-righteousness...

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@ Gordon 'pariah'

wtf? twice weekly access to a phone, charged at 7 times what we pay is a perk?

grow up you idiot

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Who are they

It is estimated that 1/3rd of the male population of Britain has been in clink for at least some time, even if it was just a day or so.

I reckon there would be a lot more if there was room for them. And even at that there would only be those there that were too stupid not to get caught or too poorly connected not to get away with a fine or less.

So let's have less of the us and them, Poleace.

£2.50/day (in prison it cost 50p/day)

Is that for the exclusive use of the telly or just shared access? At 50p a day the set would be paid for in what ....2 or 3 hundred days?

So someone doing two years would pay twice for a set that was probably second hand in the first place?

I don't know where the money for the entertainment goes in the NHS but it certainly isn't wasted on cleaning. When I was in there there were only two nurses on most of the day and a couple of Philippinos that had a different culture.

I used to watch in amazement when the wards were cleaned. They would just wipe the spaces between the beds and that was it.

It wouldn't have been so bad if they were the worst culprits. Some of the doctors are unbelievable.

It was a good job that you needed to pretty near dead before you could get in. (I had to wait until my peritonitis ruptured through my stomach muscles -and even then, find my own way to hospital.)

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Stop

Re:hmmm 2

***"having 20 pills on me got me 18months in a class A jail "***

Not telling the whole story here, are we?

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Alien

Here's Why

"Why the hell should they get any perks?" ..... By Gordon Pryra Posted Tuesday 24th June 2008 13:41 GMT

Because they are dependencies. Their societies revolves around them.

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Astounding

I'm astounded at the outpouring of human warmth and compassion here.

"They're in there for a reason". Well, yes. What is that reason?

"They committed a crime." Yeah. Anybody in prison must be guilty of something awful, because we all know the justice system never makes mistakes.

But even so, ignoring that, there's something else that bothers me. Apparently you feel that once somebody is in prison, it's OK to treat them badly. Why? What's the purpose of their being there? Abuse? Vengeance? It's OK to torture prisoners because... it makes you feel good?

Even if you manage to truly sort out those who have actually committed heinous crimes, if you abuse them just because you feel morally superior, then you become them. You lose your morally superior position the moment you treat them as you don't want them to treat you, and because you're also being a hypocrite, it actually brings you morally below their level.

And if it's a man who was caught stealing in order to feed his starving family, which was starving because society failed them -- I'd have to say your moral position is somewhere below the bedrock.

Calling them "criminals" is a nice neat way of labelling and dismissing them. Of dehumanizing them. Of lumping them all together as a single faceless entity that you can pretend is representative of some inferior life form.

You know, just like racism, only you can feel proud of yourself for it.

Each of those people has his or her own story, may or may not be there for a good reason, and probably is not the evil you pretend even if the reason is good.

I could go on like this but I doubt anybody is listening who doesn't already agree. *sigh* Nobody ever learns who doesn't want to.

Sometimes I despair of humanity, and it's not those locked in prison that I'm talking about.

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Unhappy

arena you guys all missing one key thing

didnt the article say crime with a good family support network are 6 times less likely to recommit?

If the cost of lower crime and less crowded prisons is a few damn minutes of phone calls, I'm all for it. How could anyone not be?

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To those who are saying "Sod 'em."

Profiteering is profiteering. Why is it fine for any company to rip any consumer off?

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RW
Flame

@ AC: "Prison is supposed to be difficult."

You! There! Don't be so fucking vindictive! Just remember the old proverb "there but for the grace of God go I" and try to show some compassion and charity.

[And that applies to the rest of you bloody minded jerks, too.]

It really isn't clear to me or to anyone else who's spent at least five minutes mulling over the subject just what the point of imprisonment is. For a small fraction of the prisoners, getting them out of society so they can't rape murder and pillage again is a reasonable goal, but an awful lot of people go to jail for offenses they are most unlikely to commit a second time.

Is jail intended to *punish*? And if so, why? Parents and teachers are hardly allowed to punish precious snowflakes these days, why should the state be allowed to punish malefactors? Especially when you can get thrown in the pokey for looking cross-eyed at a copper! Notice, btw, that corporate criminals generally get sent to country-club prisons: hardly a punishment!

Is it intended to *reform*? There may be handwaving in that direction, but at best reform is given lip service -- and probably won't be effective anyway. And what about deliberate civil disobedience? You gonna reform Mr. Gandhi not to do "bad things" he did with full knowledge and intent? Not very bloody likely.

<grumble>

I think Gilbert and Sullivan had it right: make the punishment fit the crime.

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Stop

Re Hmmm et al

I am so relieved to see some people still have some humanity left. When I was 'inside' for a while, I was the 'education orderly' (an ex-teacher) and one of my duties was to give a daily talk to all the new inmates. Some of those were totally bewildered, some were uninterested and some were pensioners who were unable (or unwilling) to pay the 'poll-tax' - usually 28 days and still owe the tax. Perhaps those hang 'em and flog 'em brigade might care to reflect on this last group's gross crimes?

But then, as Jeffrey Nonken has pointed out, those who disagree with my, and a few others, viewpoint have probably already switched off.

Fortunately, because of some good 'education' staff inside I developed my interest in computers and have now been an IT contractor for more than 13 years, working all over the world for some of the largest corporations so perhaps rehabilitation really can work.

Anonymous for obvious reasons - 'STOP' sign for those that really ought to stop and think for a while before shouting off their mouths.

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Flame

Disgusting

- the responses from the readership, that is. All of you who have posted self-righteous remarks along the lines of "boo hoo" etc, know this: I have taken the names of everyone other than the gutless ACs who have made such pronouncements here. From here on, if I EVER see you post in here again about how your freedom is being taken away by stupid laws, I will serve it to you in spades of abuse. Fucking hypocrites.

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@ Jeffrey Nonken

Well put. What all the "shouldn't have broken the law - let them burn in hell" types seem to forget is that under Teflon Tony's rule (and Crash Gordon doesn't seem to have any intention of doing things differently) we now have many thousands more offenses on the statute book. In fact, there are now enough vague offences that you could probably pick up ANY member of the public and find something to charge them with ! Add to that the fact that many of these are written in such a way that the accused has to prove their innocence, and people should start to see the problem.

Heck, I can think of a couple of offences I could be making just by writing this posting.

The days of having to actually commit a crime AND the prosecution actually having to put forward evidence before sending you to prison are long gone.

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