Kenny MacAskill rules out prison cell telephones

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A SUGGESTION that telephones could be installed in prison cells has been ruled out by justice ­secretary Kenny MacAskill.

And he urged prison officials to use “common sense” on whether or not to allow inmates to stay up all night watching ­television.

His comments came after the Scottish Prison Service chief executive suggested to the justice committee at Holyrood last month that inmates should be allowed phones in their cells and to watch television “sensibly” rather than face a curfew.

But Colin McConnell has since told the committee his phrase “I would have telephones in cells” was “a metaphor” and that his comments have been “sensationalised”.

Labour MSP Graeme Pearson said: “Mr McConnell indicated that his view of access to televisions was that they should access as they would wish over the 24-hour period, as I understood it, and he also rehearsed a notion of access to telephones in cells.”

Mr MacAskill said: “I think these are decisions best dealt with by the common sense of prison officers. There comes a time where the lights need to go off.” He added that he would “require some persuasion” about phones in cells. “Therefore, the position stays as it is,” he said.