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New phone system for prison inmates

Published: 
Friday, February 26, 2016
Prison inmate Kyle Bobb dials out to a relative on the new prison call-out system which was unveiled to the media during a tour of the Maximum Security Prison, Arouca, yesterday. At right is Prisons Superintendent Dennis Pulchan.

Inmates at the nation’s prisons can now make outgoing calls to relatives and friends locally and abroad.

Prison officers at the Golden Grove Prison received training in the Inmate Calling Solutions (ICS) to monitor the inmates’ calls and manage the system.

So far some 300 inmates at the Remand Yard in Golden Grove Prison and at the Maximum Security Prison have registered with the programme.

Phones have been placed in both prisons in the hallways where the inmates have access to spend their air-time. There is none at the Port-of-Spain State Prison as yet.

Speaking with members of the media yesterday, Assistant Commissioner of Prisons, Dane Clarke, said the system was to allow the inmates to make legal authorised calls to their attorneys, sib-lings and friends.

“To keep in contact with the outside world, they are allowed ten free calls once enrolled,” he said. Up to $400 in credit can be bought at TSTT.

Clarke said it was a joint venture by the Prisons Service, TSTT, ICS and the Government.

However, the inmates were warned they would be monitored and their conversations possibly recorded.

When questioned about if that would be used against them, Clarke said it was still up for consideration and the organisation would have to speak with the Attorney General. He said it was a pilot project but it was not new to other countries.

Clarke said members of the Prisons Officers Association were notified of the new system and supported the idea.

Kyle Bobb, one of the inmates at the prison, used the phone to call his father.

He said his father was busy at the moment but asked him to visit him today at the prison.

“I wanted to call granny and mammy but my father on work. My mother in Tennessee. He said he will come to visit me tomorrow. 

“This is working better than a cell-phone. It is loud and clear and you can’t make any bad moves because they recording you,” he said.

Bobb said he liked the system because the calls were “straight” and asked that his credits be “topped” up.