The crack dealing monks of the remote Dencrack monastery are to welcome drug addicts from UK prisons. The scheme has been dreamt up (possibly while under the influence) by Jack Straw. The idea is to remove prisoners who have a drug habit, thus saving the taxpayer a fortune.
Just how widespread is the drug problem in UK prisons. I went under cover at the notorious Berkhamstead Prison to find out. I entered the prison with the cover story that I had failed to return a library book on time. Once inside I quickly established myself with my fellow inmates. One of them, Stig O'Treacy, was known as the scrounger. It was said that he could get anything. I asked him if he could get me some crack cocaine. "I can't get you drugs. They are illegal. Sorry."
Is it a good idea to send these desperate criminals to Dencrack? Being a long way from home in a foreign land will be hard, but being looked after by a bunch of drug-crazed monks will be even worse. I asked Jack Straw if this was just another government announcement that was all headline and no substance. "No, it's not another one of those. Look, if we empty the prisons we can turn them into workhouses for the poor, whose numbers keep increasing."
I look back on my time inside-all twenty five minutes-with horror. Life in prison is not fun. At least I didn't get sent to a far away monastery.