If you believe the spin emanating from the Ministry of Justice, then the 8000 odd phones found in prisons last year had the sole use of 'nefarious purposes'.
It seems that vast criminal enterprises are being run by Chopper Evans in Cardiff, Toon Tony in Strangeways and "I married my mother" Fred in Dartmoor. The global drugs trade centres on a bloke lying on his bunk in the Scrubs, despatching assassins and cocaine during the adverts in Corry.
That such an insistent pack of lies is being spun by the Ministry must surely make one wonder what the real story is? It is a simple and common tale, involving civil servants in the Prison Service being stupid.
The truth is that these desk jockeys signed a contract with BT to provide a phone system for prisoners. What should have been a simple matter was turned into a nightmare, because the idiots agreed a contract that meant that prisoners are charged 7 times
more than it costs to use a payphone on the street. Even the Office of Fair Trading has kicked off over this contract.
Simple human urges took care of the rest. With our wages being set at a pocket-money level that would see a 10 year old leave home in disgust; and with the natural urge to speak to our wives, children and mothers; then the result was foregone.
So mobile phones are smuggled in. Not for organising miscellaneous wickedness, but so that we are able to talk to our families for longer than a few minutes at a time without exhausting a week’s pay doing so. Being imprisoned and punished is one thing. Being ripped-off is what gets our goat.
And for those who question why we have access to phones at all, consider the simple point - maintaining family contacts is one of the most powerful factors in reducing reoffending. Why should our families suffer for what we have done?