Phones will be introduced to prison cells in England and Wales under a government initiative aimed at reducing violence and preventing illegal mobile phones being smuggled in.
It is hoped that the move will reduce levels of aggression seen when prisoners queue to use the phone in the public landings, under the current system.
Justice secretary David Gauke is set to unveil the £7 million scheme, which will allow thousands more prisoners to make calls from their cells.
Phone calls will still be paid for by prisoners, will be recorded and will only be allowed to be made to a select few phone numbers that have been pre-approved, according to the Ministry of Justice. If there are any suspicions of illicit activity, active monitoring can be introduced.
Twenty prisons already have the technology and 20 more will have it brought in over the next two years.
The move is part of wider reforms, which aim to raise levels of safety, security and decency across prisons across the country following several years of surging levels of violence, self-harm and drug use.
Maintaining family ties was seen as a key factor in reducing the chances of returning to crime.
A report by Lord Michael Farmer found that good family relationships are “indispensable” to the government’s prison reform plans.
Lord Farmer, a member of the House of Lords, is the chair of the Farmer Review on Importance of Strengthening Prisoners’ Family Ties to Prevent Reoffending and Intergenerational Crime.
Mr Gauke said: “Decency also extends to how we treat prisoners – fairly and consistently, with time out of their cells, activities, and the opportunity to maintain family relationships.
“As Lord Farmer made clear in his ground-breaking review last year, supportive relationships are critical to achieving rehabilitation.”
Other schemes being introduced under the new package, which costs a total of £30 million, include giving prisoners a risk-rating based on factors such as how likely they are to take part in violence, escapes, disturbances and gang activity.