Prisoners can have cell phones

Cell phones in jail: CDU wants quick radio silence

Status: 23.08.2020 10:44 a.m.

Cell phone calls from inside a prison cell are usually prohibited. In Hamburg, however, they have not been a problem since the end of April - because of the corona pandemic. As visits have been severely curtailed, prisoners have been given simple cell phones with rechargeable credit so that they can keep in touch with their families. Now that the visiting restrictions have largely been lifted, the telephones are now to be returned. The CDU thinks that is overdue. In general, the cell phones are a high security risk and must be taken away from the prisoners immediately.

The judicial authority has already ordered the cell phones to be collected again, but with a generous transition period until the end of next month. "Of course, the prisoners also have to adjust again," said Hamburg's Justice Senator Anna Gallina (Greens). "Corresponding visits must first be planned again, which have not taken place for a very long time by the relatives. And of course they have also acquired credit that they should be able to call."

470 cell phones were distributed by the judicial authority

According to Gallina, all cell phones should be collected by September 30th. The judicial authority issued a total of 470 cell phones for 20 euros each. The inmates also have to pay for the phone cards themselves. But by no means all have obeyed the rules. In the Billwerder correctional facility alone, there have been more than 50 violations since the end of April, which, according to the judicial authorities, were not serious.

"You have to imagine that there are of course very strict rules," said Gallina. For example, you are not allowed to take your cell phone out of the cell and it must always be visible on the table. Especially in the first time, prisoners would have had the cell phone on their bodies again. "But that also regulated itself quite well over time."

CDU fears high security risk

The CDU sees it completely differently. There is a high number of unreported cases, especially when it comes to violations. Due to other tasks, the staff is not at all able to carry out comprehensive checks. In general, the cell phones are a high security risk and must be taken away from the prisoners immediately.

"It is not possible for them to do their business from the prison room," said Richard Seelmaecker, judicial policy spokesman for the CDU parliamentary group. "To give them the means to do so is scandalous and on top of that burdens the execution with the necessary density of controls, which does not even exist." In the week after next, the citizens should vote on the CDU application to collect the cell phones immediately.

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Hamburg Journal | 08/22/2020 | 19:30 o'clock