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A Different Kind of Cell Phone

New Telephone Service at Bali's Main Prison Aims to Eliminate Illegal Hand Phone Use Among Prisoners.

(2/9/2008) Bali's main penitentiary at Kerobokan has officially opened a telecommunications kiosk equipped with two telephones to permit prisoners to call friends and relatives on the outside world.

The telephone service was recently inaugurated by the Bali Chief of the Department of Justice and Human Rights, Bambang Untung, who told the press that the new service operated in cooperation with PT Telkom would allow prisoners to communicate with the outside world under the close scrutiny of prison officials.

Call screeners able to monitor calls in both English and Indonesian have been assigned to work at the telephone office.

The cost of calls will be deducted from the "prison savings account" of inmates.

The first prisoner allowed to use the new service was Australian Schapelle Corby, now serving a 20 year sentence for drug smuggling. Corby's unsuccessful attempt to call her Mother, Rose Corby, in Brisbane was followed by a call that did connect her with her Sister , Mercedes Corby, who lives in East Bali.

Corby's call to her family was not without irony. The Australian woman was recently denied her annual partial remission of sentence after she was found in possession of a contraband hand phone.

Fellow prisoner and Australian Rene Lawrence serving time for attempting to smuggle heroin through Bali's airport spent Rp. 40,000 (US$4.35) for a two-minute call to her Mother in Sydney.

The Chief Warden of the prison, Ilham Jaya, heralded the introduction of the new telephone service as a necessary step to eliminate the use of illegal hand phones within the prison. Prison officials have also recently installed jamming equipment that will disrupt hand phone service at the facility.