Tens of thousands of prisoners are opting not to apply for early release amid allegations that Britain's prisons are now so comfortable that they are effectively "expensive bed and breakfasts".
The figures were released on Tuesday by Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, who also disclosed that dozens of people have been caught trying to break into prisons over the past few years.
....The latest figures show that 37,000 inmates eligible to be released early declined to apply for the perk between 1999 and 2006.
Between 2003 and 2008, 42 individuals were detected attempting to break into prisons. The number of prison break-ins has increased from five in 2003-04 to 19 over the past year.
....Inmates at a top security prison recently told Mr Straw that conditions there 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," said Mr Travis. "And prison staff are forced to deal with them in such a subservient way. It's ridiculous."
A spokesman for Mr Straw said that prisoners may choose not to apply for early release as they believe they are unlikely to pass the risk ass-essments. Others may be un-able to provide an address to which they will be released.