'It looks like being in prison is better than being in a state-funded hospital' - Your views online

The Scottish Conservatives are calling for state-funded mobile phones to be withdrawn from prisons amid concerns some are being used to deal drugs. So what did readers think about the state of our jails?

By Readers' online comments
Wednesday, 29th December 2021, 7:00 am
Are mobile phones in prisons a right or a privilege?
Are mobile phones in prisons a right or a privilege?

Cheryl Morrice: It looks like being in prison is better than being in a state-funded hospital right now.

Greta Kaceviciute: The prison services here should go and see the real prisons in Russia… Here they are basically hotels that you can’t leave.

Caroline Minty Orr: Why should the taxpayer pay for them to have things like mobile phones when they are supposed to be being punished? Taxpayers pay enough to keep them in there as it is.

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Davie Black: Had prisoners not been involved in and criminality then subsequently awarded a custodial sentence in respect of their own unlawful behaviour then they’d still be with their families – so no, no mobile phones.

Keith Robertson: They should be able to contact their families but should have to earn the right to do so. Mobiles could be used for other purposes and need to be carefully controlled.

Davie Rutherford: Perhaps a bit more diligence was required at the planning and monitoring stage but how can we really deny the opportunity for communication with families outside? This policy was introduced during lockdown and now needs reviewed as conditions change. It’s no surprise to see this type of story brings out Edinburgh’s moral majority, some of whom write first before thinking. I’m sure many also don’t know that Scotland is also flagshipping a policy of judges or sheriffs not giving custodial terms where the sentence would have been less than 12 months, with community alternatives being the preferred option in these cases. That’s progressive.

Alison Mitchell: Mobile phone contact will ease the suffering of family members and especially children. It will also benefit the prisoner to have the ongoing support of parents, partners and other family members.

Jamie Stocks: What a joke. All privileges should be withdrawn. They are there for a reason – stop pampering them.

Justin Davis: Prisons have to balance rehabilitation and punishment equally. You can’t reintroduce people to society through punishment alone, history has shown it just doesn’t work. Norway has the lowest rates of reconviction in the world, only three per cent of their prisoners ever return to prison. Scotland is at 28 per cent but these numbers are at their lowest in 21 years. Things are getting better despite what provocative stories like this one would have you believe.

Doug Ross: Prisoners’ human rights should be withdrawn too then they'd not want to go back inside again. Jails are too comfy for some of the career criminals.

Kyle Danko: They should be in a cell 23/7. Privileges like a mobile can be earned after time for good behaviour (and taken away). How this is not just the standard is genuinely surprising.

David Barbr: That’s because it doesn't work or help in reducing reoffending. Punishing, humiliating and torturing people doesn't work at changing behaviour. Amazing that, eh?

Lorraine Blyth: They are in prison for a reason. State-funded doesn’t mean free, it means paid for by law-abiding citizens who pay their taxes and their own phone bills. Perhaps if the legal system worked we would not have as many repeat offenders as getting sentenced might actually be seen as a deterrent.

Angie McIntosh: Prison is supposed to be about rehabilitation. Keeping families together and in contact is part of that rehabilitation. Isolating people in a violent environment will not stop reoffending. Statistics prove this time and time again and yet still no lessons are learned.

Charalampos Koundourakis: It's proven that prison as punishment doesn't work. Prison as rehabilation has a much higher success rate. Maybe, just maybe, since we have all the data points, all the proof, we can just treat imprisoned people as humans instead of degrading them so we can feel better?

Jazmine Hadland: If any of you had loved ones in prison you would realise that the mobiles were given out because prisoners were being kept in their cells 23 hours a day due to Covid so they were not able to use the pay phones. It was not a privilege – everyone deserves to speak with their loved ones. The phones do not have internet and are not able to send texts or take incoming calls.

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