Landline telephones have been put in in 804 jail cells this 12 months for greater than $1 million, and work is underway to increase that comfort to each inmate within the state.

Our 12 prisons throughout the nation now have an analogue phone in each cell, which means inmates at Castlerea, Cloverhill, Limerick and Midlands prisons could make cellphone calls with out leaving their cells.

The tools has up to now value a complete of €1,131,688 to buy and set up and is predicted to offer in-cell telephony to prisoners in Cork, Portlaoise, Wheatfield and the Dóchas Middle by the tip of this 12 months.

Inmates at Mountjoy and Arbor Hill, the nationwide heart for male intercourse offenders, must wait till 2023 earlier than telephones are put in of their cells.

The handsets themselves are fundamental and value a modest €16 every, in keeping with data launched below the Freedom of Data Act. Nevertheless, the related IT tools prices €156.70 and the laying of cables to the cells value €992,837.

The handset presently solely permits outgoing calls, though a spokesman for the Irish Jail Service (IPS) mentioned a “dial-in” system could possibly be thought-about sooner or later.

He described the challenge as a “very constructive initiative” that might be of nice profit to jail inmates each now and sooner or later, citing the significance of sustaining household ties.

One of many advantages is that in-cell telephones enable prisoners to decide on the time they make calls that go well with them and the folks they’re calling, he added.

Nevertheless, there are nonetheless strict restrictions on using telephones by detainees. They will solely name authorized numbers, their calls are recorded, and the frequency and length of calls are restricted.

Offering telephones in 178 cells of Castlerea Jail value a complete of €152,104, in keeping with IPS figures, whereas €208,682 was spent putting in 168 units at Cloverhill. The challenge value €183,712 at Limerick Jail whereas Midlands Jail put in 804 telephones for €707,194.

In response to a parliamentary query final month, Legal professional Basic Helen McEntee mentioned that staying in contact with household and pals throughout incarceration performs an vital function in prisoner rehabilitation.

“The in-cell telephony challenge will enhance the jail service’s means to offer prisoners with a platform to facilitate this contact,” she mentioned.

She famous that the challenge’s rollout could possibly be hampered by provide chain points and useful resource availability.

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