London, June 4 : Prisoners in the UK certainly don't look forward to the day they will be released - for that means leaving behind a very cushy cell and all its amenities. In fact, UK prisons are so comfortable, that dozens of people have been caught trying to break into them instead of out of them.
And, if you think this is a joke, well think again, for the figures were released by none other than the UK's Justice Secretary Jack Straw.
According to the figures, 37,000 inmates eligible for early release declined to apply for the perk between 1999 and 2006.
And, 42 people between 2003 and 2008, have actually been caught trying to get into the prisons, that some conservatives say are effectively "expensive bed and breakfasts".
They also blame the current situation on the Labour government's mismanagement.
"Labour's mismanagement of prisons is descending from tragedy to farce. How secure are our jails if criminals can break into them? Whether these are offenders trying to return to jail, as prison officers have alleged, or dealers trying to traffic drugs, it is ludicrous that supposedly secure establishments can be breached in this way," the Telegraph quoted Nick Herbert, the shadow justice secretary, as saying.
The report comes on the heels of prisoners telling Straw that conditions in jails were like a "holiday camp".
"Prisoners receive a wage for being in prison, they receive a bed, a TV in all cells, Sky television in most areas for recreational use, free telephones, breakfast in bed on many occasions, cash bonuses for good behaviour. And prison staff are forced to deal with them in such a subservient way. It's ridiculous," said Glyn Travis, the assistant general secretary of the Prison Officers' Association.