France to give every prisoner a landline telephone

France is to install a landline telephone in every prison cell (photo for illustration only)

France is to install a landline telephone in every prison cell across the country after a successful trial.

The minister for justice this week confirmed that a telephone will be placed in each of the 50,000 cells in the 178 prisons in France, in a bid to slash the growing use of forbidden mobile phones and internet-connected smartphones.
Prisoners will have free access to the phones 24/7, but will only be able to call up to four outside numbers that have been authorised beforehand.
The roll-out comes after a successful trial at the Montmédy prison (Meuse), which saw prisoners use their allotted calling numbers regularly.
During the trial, the use of prohibited mobile phones decreased by 30%; a percentage that was also helped by the seizure - in the first trimester of 2017 - of 200,000 mobile phones, SIM cards and chargers.

The number of calls made by prisoners significantly increased, in comparison to when inmates only had access to phones in public spaces (many of which were broken, and could often not be used as guards did not have time to supervise them properly).
Prisoners also spent four times’ as long on average actually speaking on calls.
That the phones were available 24/7 - rather than just during office hours, as with normal public prison phones - meant that prisoners were able to call family after the latter returned home from work, and they could speak to their children or younger family members after the school day or evening activities.
This meant that prisoners were able to maintain closer links with their families while incarcerated, giving them a greater sense of connection, diffusing tension in the prison itself, and allowing prisoners to re-enter society more easily on release.
Yet, the trial acknowledged that installing in-cell phones would not eradicate the black market of mobile phones completely, as many prisoners would still want to use them to communicate with outside criminal networks.
The plan to install phones will therefore be rolled out at the same time as a €15 million plan to improve and update the prison network’s mobile phone signal-blocking technology, which is currently said to be out-of-date and ineffective.

Stay informed:
Sign up to our free weekly e-newsletter
Subscribe to access all our online articles and receive our printed monthly newspaper The Connexion at your home. News analysis, features and practical help for English-speakers in France

More articles from French news
More articles from Connexion France
Other articles that may interest you


Loading some business profiles...