Laptop computers to be allowed in prisons

The Prison Service is changing its policy to allow legal advisers to bring laptop computers when visiting clients in prison.

The new practice will have immediate effect and will apply to all but 13 of the country's 137 prisons.

Many lawyers will be relieved that the Prison Service is finally taking account of developing technology, especially since computers have been permitted to prisoners for some time.

However, prison rules, which do not currently mention laptops, are not likely to be changed.

Prison security dictates that all computers will have to be X-rayed to prevent escape equipment being concealed inside.

Director of security for the Prison Service Tony Pearson says: “We have this under regular review and where we judge the risk to be suitably low we are happy to change our policy – but there is a constant tension between security and taking a reasonable risk.”

Floppy disks will remain banned. It is feared that escape plans might be stored on them.

Fisher Meredith partner David Holmes says: “Their security measures are very inconsistent but this step is certainly to be welcomed.”