What happens if a prisoner is caught with a mobile phone UK?

What happens if a prisoner is caught with a mobile phone UK

The topic of prisoners possessing mobile phones is a contentious one in the UK prison system. If you’ve ever wondered, “What happens if a prisoner is caught with a mobile phone in the UK?”, you’re not alone. This issue has both legal and ethical implications, and it’s crucial to understand the consequences involved. In this article, we’ll delve into what happens when an inmate is found with a mobile phone and the repercussions that follow.

The Short Answer: It’s a Serious Offence

Being caught with a mobile phone in a UK prison is considered a serious offence. Mobile phones are classified as contraband, and possessing one is a breach of prison rules.

Legal Consequences

  1. Additional Time: One of the most immediate consequences is the potential addition of time to the inmate’s existing sentence.

  2. Loss of Privileges: Inmates may lose certain privileges, such as visitation rights or access to recreational activities.

  3. Disciplinary Action: The inmate could face internal disciplinary action, which might include solitary confinement.

What happens if a prisoner is caught with a mobile phone UK?

What happens if a prisoner is caught with a mobile phone UK?

Why Is It Considered Serious?

Security Risks

Mobile phones pose a significant security risk, as they can be used to coordinate illegal activities both inside and outside the prison.

Disruption of Order

The use of mobile phones can disrupt the order and discipline that are essential for the smooth running of a prison facility.

Risk to Public Safety

In extreme cases, mobile phones have been used to orchestrate crimes outside the prison, posing a risk to public safety.

How Are Mobile Phones Detected?

Routine Searches

Prison staff conduct routine searches of cells and common areas to find contraband items like mobile phones.


Sometimes, tips from other inmates or external intelligence can lead to the discovery of a mobile phone.


Some prisons use advanced technology, such as mobile phone detectors, to locate contraband devices.

What Happens After Discovery?


The first step is the confiscation of the mobile phone.


An internal investigation is usually launched to determine how the inmate acquired the phone and whether it was used for illegal activities.

Legal Proceedings

Depending on the severity of the offence and the inmate’s history, legal proceedings may be initiated, which could result in additional sentencing.

Public Opinion and Policy Implications

The issue of mobile phones in prisons often sparks public debate. Some argue that the presence of these devices indicates a failure in the system’s security measures, while others see it as a symptom of broader issues, like overcrowding and understaffing.

Tips for Families and Friends

  1. Don’t Provide Phones: Providing a mobile phone to an inmate is also illegal and could result in legal consequences for you.

  2. Report Suspicious Activity: If you suspect that an inmate has access to a mobile phone, it’s crucial to report it to the prison authorities.


So, what happens if a prisoner is caught with a mobile phone in the UK? The consequences are severe and far-reaching, affecting not just the inmate but also the overall integrity of the prison system. From additional time added to the sentence to loss of privileges and potential legal repercussions, the risks are high. Understanding the gravity of this issue is essential for anyone connected to inmates in the UK prison system, as well as those interested in the workings of criminal justice.