Welcome back to another edition, this week following the launch of Prison Phones latest international price plans I wanted to blog about the growing number of foreign nationals behind British bars and further more the growing number of foreign nationals that are being held in the UK beyond the end of their sentence because they can’t be sent home.
In 2013 there were 10,786 foreign national offenders (FNO’s) residing within British prisons (figures from Jeremy Wright (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice; Kenilworth and Southam, Conservative) and not only that over 1500 of them have fully completed their tariff and are still being held as the UK are unable to deport them. (see this link for more details)
A huge problem for these prisoners is family contact as many of them don’t speak very good English and the majority of their family are back in their native country therefore visits are near on impossible.
Although the prison service recognise that family contact is a key aspect of rehabilitation Foreign nationals are struggling to stay in touch as the prices charged by the prison service for a call home that is the only way these particular prisoners can stay in touch can be as much as £1 per minute!
Now there are different rules for FNO’s regarding the funding of these calls as they are amongst now the only group of offenders to be able to fund their calls by using funds from their private account rather than just using the limited spends they are entitled to, however these calls are still incredibly expensive.
Since January this year we at Prison phone have been in discussions with most of the major telecoms providers in the most common home countries of these FNO’s and have now managed to secure contracts that will allow us to directly connect to their telecoms equipment from the UK with no diversions and therefore compiling with the rules set out within the prisoner communications compact set out by NOMS ( the national offender management service) I must stress we do not in any way claim to be approved by NOMS (I mean why would they want to approve a service that reduces calls by 90% that’s a lot of money to lose) however we have read and consulted legal advisors that all agree we are fully compliant with the rules they have set out.
This means that FNO’s that have friends or family members in these countries can now maintain truly affordable family ties with calls for the FNO being reduced to an average of just 10p per minute, which in turn we hope will result in FNO’s being able to try and maintain family ties so once realised can have the best chance possible of leading a crime free life. (see what countries we can help with here)
Also this should help result in a calmer environment within the UKs prison system and stop these very vulnerable and lonely prisoners considering self harm or even suicide as a form of escapism from the situation they have found themselves in thus saving the British tax payer a small fortune on special requirements these prisoners would require if on suicide watch, and the cost of repairs needed due to these prisoners becoming frustrated and vandalising things or even rioting in our prisons.
We hope that we can help to truly rehabilitate these FNO’s an hope that with time to reflect within the British penal system and affordable family contact they will be released and become upstanding members of the community that would have been given the best possible chance avoid re-offending.
Well I’ve just sneaked over the target 600 word limit for this blog so I will leave it there for now,
As always please ‘like’ ‘share’ ‘tweet’ or email a link to the blog wherever you see fit and your comments are always welcome.
Take care and stay safe
x Claire x