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Am I allowed to use the phone in prison, and who can I call? Task

There are phones that you can use when you’re in prison. 

Although some prisons now have phones in each cell, in most prisons you may have to book a slot or queue to use the phone. It’s likely that you’ll only be allowed to use the phone at certain times of the day.

You will not be allowed to receive calls from outside the prison.

The prison staff will give you a form for you to list the phone numbers you want to call. In most cases, you will be allowed up to 15 numbers on this list. It may take a few days for this list to be approved. So you may not be able to make calls within the first few days of being in prison. 

You will not be allowed to have your mobile phone when you’re in prison, so you may want to write down or memorise important phone numbers. 

You can ask to call most numbers including landlines and mobile phone. These could be your friends, your family, or your solicitor. All prisoners are allowed to call certain helpline numbers such as the Samaritans. 

Depending on your security level, you may be able to phone a number without the prison staff checking it first.

You will not be able to call 0800 numbers that allow you to call them free and then transfer you to another number. A person outside the prison can write to the prison and ask that you’re not allowed to call them. If they do this, you will not be able to call this person. 

You will not be allowed to receive calls from outside the prison. However, your loved ones may be able to leave a voicemail. You can find out more at:

Phone calls from prison are usually made on a pin phone. This is where you have to enter your PIN before making calls. You will usually only be able to call phone numbers that are pre-approved by the prison staff and that have been set up to be linked to your PIN. 

Most of your calls could be listened to, or recorded, by prison staff. However, this usually isn’t the case unless you’re a high-risk prisoner (Category A), or unless the prison staff suspect something illegal is taking place. 

Calls to your legal adviser will not be listened to or recorded.

You can ask to use a phone that is more private if you need to speak to your solicitor urgently. The prison governor will decide if you can do this. 

The number and length of calls you can make depend on your privileges. Your privileges can be improved if your behaviour is good. You will also need phone credit.

The prison governor can restrict:

  • The maximum length of each call
  • The time between calls
  • The maximum number of calls which can be made in one day
  • The maximum total time of all calls in one day

At the moment, due to the Coronavirus outbreak, each prisoner can have one 30-minute video call each month, with up to four people. Find out more here: 

You will need to cover the cost of your phone calls from your private cash or earnings. You can buy phone credit once a week from the canteen sheet (usually on a Friday). 

One reply on “Am I allowed to use the phone in prison, and who can I call?”

  • Joseph balfe says:

    How do I check my phone credit on a prison phone I know you can ring a number to check your balance but I can’t remember the number

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