Prison Voicemail is an award-winning social venture with a mission to improve communication channels between people in prison and their family and friends, with the aim of relieving some of the causes of stress and isolation that ultimately increase the risk of self-harm and reoffending.
Co-founders Alex and Kieran outside their local prison in Norwich.
A world in which going to prison does not mean losing touch with family and other important support networks in the outside world.
To use scalable technology to improve communication channels between prisoners and their families.
We aim to make it easier for people in prison to maintain positive relationships with their families during this stressful time. These relationships give prisoners a much-needed support network, reducing the burden on prison staff and potentially lowering the incidence of self-harm and suicide. In the long-term, strong family ties have also been shown to reduce the likelihood of reoffending.
Founded in late 2015, Prison Voicemail is now available in over 85% of prisons in England and Wales, and has helped over 10,000 families to stay connected during difficult times. In July 2016 the service was mandated for national rollout across the HM Prison Service by the then Prisons Minister, Andrew Selous.
Prison Voicemail is supported by Cambridge Social Ventures, Pitch@Palace, MassChallenge, Stephen Lloyd Awards, Norfolk Community Foundation, University of Cambridge Judge Business School, and Centre of Innovation in Voluntary Action (CIVA).
Co-founders Kieran and Alex telling Her Majesty The Queen about Prison Voicemail during Pitch@Palace in November 2016.
As a social venture Prison Voicemail prioritises social impact over financial returns, and is committed to continually assess the impact of its services and use this information to drive greater impact.
Independent research carried out by academics at the University of Lincoln during 2017 across 56 prisons found a wide range of benefits from using the service (download the full report here ), including:
These Terms and Conditions set out the terms under which Prison Voicemail provides you with the ability to use its voicemail service.
a. Prison Voicemail is a trading name of PHONEHUB IO LTD, company number 9568821 registered in England and Wales.
b. References to 'we', 'us' and 'our' are to Prison Voicemail and we refer to you, the user, as 'you' and 'your'.
c. Please read these Terms and Conditions carefully as they affect your rights and liabilities under the law and the terms governing your use of Prison Voicemail. By using Prison Voicemail's services, you agree to these Terms and Conditions.
d. If you have any queries, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. What is Prison Voicemail?:
a. Prison Voicemail enables you to leave voice messages for a specific prisoner in a prison that has approved our service. You can leave a message by dialling your unique Prison Voicemail number. The prisoner can receive the message by dialling the same number from the phone system in the prison.
b. Prison Voicemail is secure in that it only allows pre-approved numbers to leave messages. When you sign up for the service, you register the number from which you will leave messages. The prison may wish to vet this number before you are allowed to leave messages.
c. You pay for messages left through Prison Voicemail through a monthly subscription payment associated with the price plan you choose while signing up for the service, or through a Pay As You Go plan. The subscription is a recurring monthly fee which is charged to your chosen payment card using Continuous Payment Authority. This is not a direct debit. The fee will automatically be deducted from your card on the same day each month. If the payment does not go through for any reason, the system will continue to attempt to take payment at regular intervals. After three failed payments, the system may cancel your subscription automatically. Until payment is received, your account will be blocked from use.
d. Each time you make a call the following process occurs:
i. You dial your unique Prison Voicemail number.
ii. Prison Voicemail verifies your caller ID. It will then hang up and call you back.
iii. You leave your message.
iv. The prisoner dials the same unique Prison Voicemail number. The prisoner can then listen to any messages on the system.
e. Some users may also use the Prison Voicemail mobile application to use the service. In this case the process will differ from that listed above.
f. Prisoners can, if enabled, initiate a message by dialling their Prison Voicemail number twice within one minute. The second call will get through and enable them to leave a message.
3. Call rates:
a. Please check the Prison Voicemail website for current pricing. From time to time Prison Voicemail may offer discounted or free calls. These offers are subject to any specific terms of each individual offer.
b. Your chosen price plan comes with a number of minutes which can be used throughout the month. These minutes are reduced by any time you spend on the phone to your Prison Voicemail number, including time spent listening to messages, leaving messages, and listening to the Prison Voicemail system voice. The time the prisoner spends using the service is not counted and does not subtract from your minute allowance. If you use the Prison Voicemail app, only the length of your messages to the prisoner, rounded up to the nearest minute, are deducted from your balance. Please note that all deductions are rounded up to the nearest minute.
c. Prison Voicemail is not responsible any additional calling charges that you or the prisoner may incur from your phone providers. Prisoners will usually pay for their calls at the normal landline calling rate charged by the prison phone system.
d. Call rates are subject to change at any time.
e. Any remaining minutes purchased as part of a subscription package will roll-over at the end of each month for a maximum of two months. Users may purchase top-up minutes through their account dashboard. These minutes will roll-over indefinitely until they are used up.
f. If an account relies on top-up minutes only without any monthly susbscription payments, it is classed as a Pay As You Go account. There may be a setup fee associated with this type of account. Pay As You Go accounts which have been inactive (no top-ups during this period) for more than 90 days may be cancelled without notice.
g. If at any point a subscription payment is missed and the account becomes past due then any accrued minutes from that subscription package will be lost. If a user subsequently makes a payment, the account will restart but the accrued minutes will not be kept.
4. Live calls and the Prison Voicemail App:
a. The Prison Voicemail app can be downloaded on iOS and Android from the appropriate app store. It features enhanced functionality enabling family members to listen to old messages and leave new messages without dialling the Prison Voicemail number. Please be aware that the app operates over data connections, therefore data charges may apply.
b. Users with the Prison Voicemail app have an additional chargeable feature available – live calls – which is available in certain establishments. This feature enables the prisoner to speak in real-time with the voicemail user if the user is available. The user can indicate their availability by selecting the appropriate option on the app.
c. If the user has indicated that they are available to receive calls from the prisoner, the next time the prisoner calls their Prison Voicemail number, after hearing any waiting messages, the app will ring and the user will be able to speak directly to the prisoner. The length of this call will be deducted from the user’s minutes balance, depending on the subscription package of the user.
d. The Prison Voicemail app relies on the phone having a data connection. A slow or patchy data connection may result in calls or messages being poor quality. We advise users to connect to wifi when doing Live Calls to avoid excessive data usage.
a. You may cancel your account with Prison Voicemail at any time. We will consider requests for refunds on a case-by-case basis depending on usage of the account, and any issues experienced by the user. We reserve the right to refuse refunds if the account has been actively used, if the user failed to inform us in a timely manner of their wish to cancel, or if the account has been denied by the prison for public protection reasons, and to retain an administration fee of up to 30% of the monthly subscription cost to cover our own costs of purchasing the line. All refunds will be made within 60 days once agreed with the customer.
b. No refunds will be issued for unused call minutes or setup fees on Pay As You Go accounts. For subscription plans, no refunds will be given for any period prior to the most recent payment.
a. Prison Voicemail is currently only available in select prisons where the service has been approved.
b. The use of Prison Voicemail at the discretion of the individual prison and the Prison Service.
c. Individual messages are subject to a maximum length due to prison restrictions. This length varies from prison to prison, and will be communicated to you by Prison Voicemail.
7. Availability of services:
a. Your access to Prison Voicemail may be occasionally restricted to allow for repairs, maintenance or the introduction of new facilities or services. Your access may also be restricted if we are required to restrict it following instruction from the government, the prison service or prison management, or any other competent or lawful authority. In these circumstances, we will attempt to restore the service as soon as we reasonably can.
b. Prison Voicemail only offers its service at specific prisons. If the prisoner is not housed at one of the prisons serviced by Prison Voicemail, you will not be able to use your Prison Voicemail account. In these situations, Prison Voicemail will inform you and will either suspend the service, pending being made available at that prison or close your account at no charge.
c. Prison Voicemail uses some third-party technology and as a result cannot guarantee that the service will always be available. Prison Voicemail accepts no liability for any losses resulting from any faults or problems with its service.
8. Our responsibility to you:
a. We will provide you with a Prison Voicemail number that is unique to your account. Prison Voicemail will attempt to provide a landline number that is local to your home address, however this may not always be possible, in which case Prison Voicemail will provide a UK-based landline number. This number remains the property of Prison Voicemail, and may be removed from service or reassigned at any point.
b. If you have provided Prison Voicemail with the necessary details of the prisoner, Prison Voicemail will inform the prison of the new account and ask the prison to add the Prison Voicemail number to the Prisoner's approved numbers list. Although the prisons aim to process the new account quickly, there a number of potential reasons for delays in processing or rejections of new accounts, including public protection issues, the account owner’s number not being on the prisoner’s approved PIN list, delays in adding the account owner’s number to the prisoner’s approved PIN list, and staff holidays. It is your responsibility to follow up with Prison Voicemail if you believe there is a delay in the processing of your account at the prison end;
c. Enable you to pay your subscription and buy top-up minutes using a credit or debit card;
d. Enable you to leave voicemail messages, subject to limitations on maximum length and your available account credit;
e. Enable the prisoner to listen to voicemail messages by dialling the Prison Voicemail number from within the prison, subject to limitations on maximum length and your available account credit;
f. Charge the cost of the calls to both leave and receive messages at the agreed price to your account.
g. We do not assume any liability for the content of messages left by you or the prisoner on Prison Voicemail
h. You acknowledge that we are not responsible for providing (or maintaining) the equipment that you use to access Prison Voicemail services or the national or international telecommunications networks which your calls travel across.
i. Nothing in these Terms and Conditions affects your statutory rights (which include, for example, that we will provide Prison Voicemail services to a reasonable standard and within a reasonable time). For more information on your statutory rights you can contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau or Trading Standards Office.
j. Nothing in this section shall limit or affect our liability resulting from anything we provide to you being found to be unsafe or if something we do negligently causes death or personal injury.
a. In all cases, our liability is limited to the amount you have paid to use the service.
b. Prison Voicemail accepts no liability for any consequences of messages sent through its service.
10. Your responsibility to us:
a. You must abide by the terms and conditions of Prison Voicemail.
b. You must not use Prison Voicemail for any unlawful or fraudulent purpose, to make any communication which is, or is intended to be, malicious, fraudulent or hoax, or which is a breach of prison rules, or in any way which may damage or affect the operation of Prison Voicemail or any other telecommunications system.
c. You must adhere to the guidance provided by the prison on the appropriate use of Prison Voicemail.
d. You must allow the monthly subscription payment to be taken by Prison Voicemail in a timely manner.
e. Users leaving voicemail messages should be mindful of the impact of their communications on the prisoner's wellbeing. Users are strongly advised not to leave messages which may have a negative impact on the prisoner's state of mind. In the event that messages are left which are likely to cause distress users should contact the prison directly to ensure that prison staff can provide support.
f. You must not make any attempt to circumvent our system's security. Such attempts are strictly prohibited.
g. By signing up to Prison Voicemail you are consenting to allow the prisoner you name during the signup process to listen to and reply to your voicemail messages and to trigger notification text messages to your mobile phone.
h. It is your responsibility to ensure the prisoner is checking regularly for messages, and to use the service to its fullest capacity. Prison Voicemail cannot be held responsible for customers who under-utilise or misuse the serve.
11. Intellectual property:
a. The design of Prison Voicemail's services, and the trademarks, service marks and logos contained therein ('Marks'), are owned by or licensed to us. No licence is granted to you in these Terms and Conditions to use any trade mark of Prison Voicemail or its affiliated companies. The design system remains our property and cannot be copied.
12. Personal information:
a. For the purposes of data protection legislation within the United Kingdom you hereby consent to our processing of 'personal data' (as defined by the Data Protection Act 1998) by submission of your personal information on the Website and we agree that we will treat the personal data as confidential.
c. If you provide personal information to us through using Prison Voicemail, we will not share it with anyone outside of Prison Voicemail for marketing purposes.
d. We will never disclose your information to anyone outside Prison Voicemail except where we have your consent; where we are required or permitted to do so by law; to other companies who provide a service to us; or any successors in title to our business.
e. Prison Voicemail reserves the right to use your data on a confidential aggregated level to draw conclusions about the use of the service, and may wish to share this data or analysis of this data with third parties.
f. For the purpose of impact evaluation, safeguarding or welfare issues, or prison security, Prison Voicemail may need to share individual user data with parts of the prison service, partner agencies working with the prison on your behalf, the Ministry of Justice, or partner academic institutions. By using Prison Voicemail you consent to share your data with these parties.
g. Prison Voicemail reserves the right to keep customer data on its database for up to 2 years following the termination of any agreement.
h. All prison communications may be monitored in the interests of prisoner welfare and security.
i. Prison Voicemail will fully comply with any request made under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA).
j. Prison Voicemail reserves the right to listen to user voicemails only where absolutely necessary to improve its service or identify and solve issues.
13. Marketing and research:
a. By using Prison Voicemail, you agree that we may contact you with offers and information about our products and services. If you do not wish to receive these offers, please let us know.
a. Prison Voicemail reserves the right to terminate its agreement with you at any time.
b. You may terminate your agreement at any time with Prison Voicemail over the phone or on your account dashboard. You will not be eligible for a refund, except at the discretion of Prison Voicemail.
a. Although Prison Voicemail obtains approval from the management of all prisons it works with before offering its service at these prisons, it does not accept any liability for decisions taken by staff or management of the prison, or at any other level within the prison service or National Offender Management Service or Ministry of Justice, that result in its service being blocked, banned, or closed, or the prisoner receiving any kind of disciplinary action.
b. By using Prison Voicemail, you represent to us that you are fully able and competent to enter into and abide by these Terms and Conditions.
c. If you breach these Terms and Conditions and we choose to ignore this, we will still be entitled to use our rights and remedies at a later date or in any other situation where you breach these Terms and Conditions.
d. We shall not be responsible for any breach of these Terms and Conditions caused by circumstances beyond our reasonable control.
e. These Terms and Conditions are subject to English law. We will try to solve any disagreements quickly and efficiently. If you are not happy with the way we deal with any disagreement and you want to take court proceedings, you must do so in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
f. These Terms and Conditions shall constitute the entire agreement between you and us regarding use of Prison Voicemail. If any provision of these Terms and Conditions is deemed invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the invalidity of such provision shall not affect the validity of the remaining provisions of these Terms and Conditions, which shall remain in full force and effect.
g. We may modify these Terms and Conditions at any time without notice to you and it is your responsibility to review these Terms and Conditions for any changes. Your continued use of Prison Voicemail following any amendment of these Terms and Conditions will signify your assent to and acceptance of its revised terms.
h. A person who is not a party to these Terms and Conditions shall have no right under the Contract (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 to enforce any term of these Terms and Conditions but this shall not affect any right or remedy of a third party which exists or is available apart from that Act. Any member of Prison Voicemail may enforce any provision of these terms as if it were a party to these terms.
16. Customer services and complaints:
a. If you have any queries, please contact us using the details listed on the Prison Voicemail website.
17. Copyright notice
a. This website and its content is copyright of PHONEHUB IO LTD 2023. All rights reserved.
b. Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited other than the following:
i. you may print or download to a local hard disk extracts for your personal and non-commercial use only
ii. you may copy the content to individual third parties for their personal use, but only if you acknowledge the website as the source of the material
c. You may not, except with our express written permission, distribute or commercially exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system.
18. Complete agreement:
a. These provisions constitute the entire Agreement between you and Prison Voicemail with respect to the use of this site and any Software, Content, or Product contained therein, unless specified and marked 'Addendum' on the site.
Prison Voicemail is a trading name of PHONEHUB IO LTD, company number 9568821 registered in England and Wales.
Registered office / postal address: 1-2, The Old Church, St. Matthews Road, Norwich NR1 1SP United Kingdom
Copyright © 2023 Phonehub IO Ltd
This data protection policy sets out how Prison Voicemail uses and protects any information that you give Prison Voicemail when you use this website and the service.
Prison Voicemail is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected. Should we ask you to provide certain information by which you can be identified when using this website, then you can be assured that it will only be used in accordance with this policy.
Prison Voicemail may change this policy at a later date. Any changes will be updated on this page. You should check when providing new data to ensure that you are happy with any changes. This policy is effective from 1st May 2018.
Links to other websites
Our website may contain embedded content and links to other websites of interest. However, once you have used these links to leave our site, you should note that we do not have any control over the linked site. Therefore, we cannot be responsible for the protection and privacy of any information which you provide whilst visiting linked sites. You should exercise caution and look at the corresponding data protection or privacy statement applicable to the website in question.
Gathered information and usage
Below is a table containing all information which we currently collect regarding personal user data.
|Site access username
|For contacting regarding support or with service notifications
|Handling international phone numbers for communications
|Site access username
|For contacting regarding support or with service notifications
|Providing access to voicemails
|Notification when prisoner changes establishment
|Personalisation of content
|Finding local area code phone numbers
|Relationship to prisoner
|Personalisation of content
|Estimated release date
|Scheduling reminder notification
|Reserve number for contacting
|How you found out about the service
|Determining effectiveness of methods for attracting users
|Taking payment for the service
|Taking payment for the service
|Scheduling reminder notification
|Sharing voicemails between you and the prisoner
|Monitoring site access for security and determining user country
|User agent (type of device being used)
|Monitoring site access for security
We may also use all above data for the purpose of debugging problems to provide support. Where fraud prevention mechanisms require so, we may also provide the information to our payment provider. After gaining your consent, we may use your identitifiable data for research, to contact you regarding research or to contact you with promotional material. By default, we will assume that you do not consent unless you perform an affirmative action (such as pressing a button).
We will retain user data throughout the period of providing you with the service.
In the event that you do not fully complete registration for the service (and are not on a waiting list, such as for those who sign up to an unlaunched prison or have a payday reminder), we will keep your data for 7 years. This is for ease of registration; if you decide to complete the sign up at a later date then you do not have to repeat filling in the form again. On request, you can extend or shorten this retention period (please contact us as stated below).
Likewise, after cancelling the service, we will retain your data for 7 years. This means that if you need to restart the service, you may be able to keep your old details and messages. On request, you can extend or shorten this retention period (please contact us as stated below).
Cookies are files which are stored on your computer in order to retain information as you browse the website.
We use essential cookies for essential purposes, such as logging you into your account, and other cookies for analytics purposes. Traffic logs from these cookies help identify which pages are being used. This helps us analyse data about web page traffic and improve our website in order to tailor it to your needs. Overall, cookies help us provide you with a better website, by enabling us to monitor which pages you find useful and which you do not.
By default, most browsers will accept cookies. In the event that you wish to disable all cookies, including essential cookies, please modify your browser settings to decline and remove the cookies. This will prevent you from using the website as intended.
Prison Voicemail will never provide your information to any other organisation for direct marketing purposes. We will not distribute, sell or lease your personal information to third parties unless we have your permission or are required by law to do so. We may send you promotional information about third parties which we think you may find interesting (unless you have requested no promotional contact).
We will share details for identity verification with the prison upon signing up. We may also provide it to other prisons in the event that the prisoner changes establishment.
Your card details are stored by a valid third party payment provider (PayPal) in order to conform to PCI requirements. User details may also be passed on to our payment provider for fraud prevention purposes.
Other third parties may be used strictly for the purpose of providing the service (such as for storing your messages or sending text notifications). They may be international organisations, outside of the United Kingdom.
We are committed to ensuring that your information is secure. In order to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure, we have put in place suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect. We conform to multiple industry standards for good practice and other relevant accredited schemes.
Safeguarding all users of the service is of paramount importance to us; some users of the service may be vulnerable individuals. In light of this, we may at the discretion of our directors choose to contact the prison if we, in the course of performing technical support, were to stumble across information which we believe could indicate that an individual is at risk of self harm or other risks of harm.
The Android version of the Prison Voicemail mobile app requests a number of permissions from your phone. These include:
The iOS version of the Prison Voicemail mobile app requests a number of permissions from your phone. These include:
You have the right to request a copy of the information we hold on you, to request correction of invalid records and to request erasure of personal data.
We may charge an administration fee for repeated or excessive requests. In addition, it may not be possible to continue offering the service (or it may be temporarily suspended) after personal data is modified.
Please contact us as stated below if you wish to request your information or modification of your information.You have the right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority if you believe your information is not handled according to regulation.
Data consent from the prisoner
As the prisoner is not able to access the website, you are required to provide their details. When you do so, you give consent for us to use those details.
In the event that the prisoner requests their information or modification of their information, we face a number of challenges. We may not be able to verify their identity, to provide it in a useable format or permitted to by the prison. We will need to handle each request by a prisoner on a case by case basis but we advise against the prisoner performing such requests.
Please write to PHONEHUB IO, 1-2, The Old Church, St. Matthews Road, Norwich, NR1 1SP, United Kingdom.
The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The information is provided by Prison Voicemail, and while we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.
In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data or profits arising out of, or in connection with, the use of this website.
You must not use our website in any way which is unlawful, illegal, fraudulent or harmful, or in connection with any unlawful, illegal, fraudulent or harmful purpose or activity. We accept no responsibility for any loss or harm incurred.
Through this website you are able to link to other websites which are not under the control of Prison Voicemail. We have no control over the nature, content and availability of those sites. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.
Every effort is made to keep the website up and running smoothly. However, Prison Voicemail takes no responsibility for, and will not be liable for, the website being temporarily unavailable due to technical issues beyond our control.