Maria Caulfield’s Prison (Interference with Wireless Telegraphy) Bill has passed its Second Reading in the House of Commons.

The Lewes MP’s Bill would give the Secretary of State for Justice the power to authorise mobile phone operators to block all mobile phone and data signals in prisons. Mobiles are used by some prisoners to organise crimes on the outside, to intimidate witnesses, to smuggle goods into prisons and to harass guards. 

Currently prison governors can authorise individual mobile networks to block current technologies on their own sites. However as soon as new networks or new signal technology (such as the upcoming 5G) becomes available it cannot be blocked without further authorisation. The new powers that Maria’s Bill would give, allow all mobile networks to block all current and future signals for unauthorised mobiles in all Prisons in England and Wales.

After the Bill passed its Second Reading Maria Caulfield said “I am pleased that my Parliamentary colleagues have supported my Bill at its Second Reading, meaning that we are a step closer to passing this into law and having safer prisons and safer communities.”

“I will now be taking the Bill to Committee Stage where myself and other MPs will work through it line by line to ensure it is as good as can be.”

A clip of Maria Caulfield's speech can be found here .