Paris: A landline phone is to be-installed in almost every French prison cell in an attempt to improve rehabilitation rates and curb the smuggling of mobile phones, the country's Justice Ministry said.
Inmates will be allowed to use the landlines to phone up to four pre-approved numbers at any time of the day, but calls may be expensive, costing up to 80 euro cents ($1.23) a minute.
As in Britain, French authorities have failed to stem the smuggling of mobile phones into prisons. More than 19,000 handsets and accessories were seized during the first half of 2017.
A trial of landlines in cells at a prison in Montmedy, north-eastern France, resulted in a 31 per cent fall in mobile phone seizures last year. The ministry invited telecommunications companies to bid for contracts with the successful firms charging prisoners to make calls. Guards, however, warned that if landline calls cost more than those from mobiles, smuggling would continue.
A justice ministry statement said: "This promotes rehabilitation after prison and maintains family ties."