Debbie’s prison calls nightmare

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A CITY mum has spoken of her frustration after a mix-up caused her to receive calls from newly released prisoners.

Debbie Millis, who lives in Petersfiled Green, South Row, has been receiving calls from people looking to contact the probation service and has even had details of prisoners, due to be released, left on her home answerphone.

The problem occurred after her number, despite being ex-directory, was wrongly listed nationwide for the probation service.

She said: “I received calls from prisons telling me when and where prisoners were going to be released and what they had been in prison for.

“It was information that I should not have been privy to. I wouldn’t have minded so much but the answerphone message said ‘you’ve reached Debbie and Josh’ (Debbie’s son).

“It’s not that I wanted to tell anyone that but if Josh had accidentally mentioned to one of his friends on a social networking site that someone was being released for a crime then who knows how quick it could have spread?”

However, it was not just prison staff who were in contact with Debbie as prisoners, looking to inform probation officers they would be late to meetings, were also calling her.

She said: “These were just guys doing their best to keep on the straight and narrow calling to reschedule a probation meeting.

“I felt bad that they were trying to do the right thing so I called them back and told them so.

“But as you can imagine when there are so many calls it can be hard to call them all.”

Debbie put numerous calls into the prisons and phone company BT to get them to change the error and even considered changing her phone number.

However, Debbie works from home and needed to retain the number for business reasons.

She said: “I have been asking them for so long to make the change and no-one has listened. In fact a couple of the prisons were quite blase about it. I don’t think they realised what a problem it has been for us.”

Debbie has since received an apology from the probation service which has made the necessary changes to its records to avoid Debbie receiving its calls in the future.

She said: “I received a call at the start of this week from the probation service and they apologised profusely for the mix-up.

“They said I might receive these calls for a few more days but after that they should stop.”

A National Offender Management Service spokesperson said:

“We apologise for any distress caused and are currently investigating the circumstances of this case.”