Inmates in Lancashire will be quizzed in a research project to tackle the growing problem of smuggled mobile phones in jail.
Kirkham Open Prison is one of at least 15 establishments being targeted as the Government looks for a cheaper alternative to the widespread electronic jamming of calls.
Figures show that almost 7,000 illegal phones and sim cards were found in prisons in England and Wales during 2012.
While most were used purely by inmates to contact loved ones, others were for more sinister purposes such as ordering violent attacks, harassing victims and maintaining links with criminal gangs and extremists. Now new documents from the Ministry of Justice suggest that, despite a much-publicised move towards a harsher prison regime, the Government could be prepared to turn a partial blind eye to the innocent use of mobiles on financial grounds. The research, costing £70,000, will look at what drives the smuggling of phones. Inmates will be asked to be honest about what they use them for.