But many are becoming so cushy that they are a laughing stock as well, with convicts allowed luxuries many law-abiding folk struggle to afford.
In one, lags even moaned their human rights had been breached because they could only watch one paid-for sports channel on their TVs.
Now officials are introducing a new set of guidelines for governors and discipline panels, which only deepen fears that jails are becoming more like Center Parcs than places of punishment.
The Sun on Sunday today reveals that, under the advice, cons who get drunk will escape penalties if they are “merely exuberant” rather than running riot.
Those who abscond from jail will also be shown leniency if they say they did not mean to or forgot they were due back from temporary leave.
Progressive officials may hope that prisoners will behave better if they are given more freedom.
But mollycoddling is just as likely to undermine discipline and encourage drugs and violence, further demoralising hard-pressed prison officers.
Even more worryingly, it sends out a dangerous message to would-be criminals — that far from being a deterrent, a prison sentence is a risk worth taking.
These guidelines must be binned.
Cash alone can’t fix NHS
THERESA May will today begin unveiling ambitious proposals for a £20billion revamp of the NHS.
Nobody could deny that the plans for more doctors and nurses plus a reboot of care across the board are needed.
But Mrs May must remember that her Labour predecessor Gordon Brown threw billions at the health service, only for it to have little impact because the funding was never linked to proper reform.
To be really effective, her pledge to control waste must carry real force.
WHIPPED-up fears of Brexit triggering widespread disruption are a national obsession.
While the Government and businesses are right to prepare for every eventuality, it is baffling why an NHS ambulance trust needs to get in on the act.
Yet the crisis-hit South East Coast Ambulance Service is forking out thousands to recruit a Brexit bureaucrat.
Given it has terrible response times and a multi-million-pound deficit, this seems a waste of its money.
Perhaps it should admit itself to A&E.
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