Released prisoners are intentionally committing new crimes so they can be recalled to jail.
The reason? They can earn a fortune by dealing in drugs, mobile phones and Sim cards from the outside.
A former prison officer told the BBC that detainees spoke openly of friends and gang members who would be caught for petty crimes, receive two-year sentences, then make thousands of pounds a month through selling drugs in prison.
A new report says 225 kilos of drugs were found in British prisons in 2016, and one ex-prisoner, Alex Cavendish, said this was only “the tip of the iceberg”.
Prison officers blame a serious shortfall of staff for the preponderance of drugs and for frequent violence, mostly against other prisoners but directed at warders, too.
An ex-officer identified only as Alan told the BBC that he worked for two years in a privately run prison before quitting last year.
He said: “Officers are being assaulted, punched and have boiling water poured on their faces on a regular basis.
“I was punched, then had excrement thrown in my face. He ran up behind me and shoved a bag of it in my face, eyes, nose, mouth.
“It was the worst feeling in the world. I didn’t know if he had HIV or hepatitis, which is all carried by human waste.”
Alan spent the next two days in the prison hospital being tested for a range of infections.
Another officer, Peter, has worked for more than 20 years in the service.
He said “Today, before I left, we had a member of staff who ended up with a broken nose and potentially a broken wrist and finger.
“It will get to the stage where a prison officer will get killed on duty.”
Prisons minister Sam Gyimah said he planned to recruit an extra 2,500 staff by 2018.
Whatever type of music you favour, you cannot fail to have heard “Gangnam Style”, the South Korean mega-hit, which was the most watched video on YouTube for five years running. Not any more.
Gangnam Style was watched a total of 2,894,426,475.
It has now been overtaken by another music video, “See You Again”, by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth, whose figures read 2,895,373,709.
This last figure equates to 21,759 years.
Last week in this space, I wrote about a six-year-old boy with a huge smile, Bradley Lowery, who won the hearts of the nation as he campaigned for his beloved football club, Sunderland FC.
What everybody knew except Bradley was that the boy was dying from a rare type of cancer, neuroblastoma.
Bradley appeared on national television holding hands with his superstar hero, Jermaine Defoe, then he scored a Match of the Day “goal” before a huge TV audience.
But Bradley’s condition was worsening.
He was pictured at home sleeping sprawled on Defoe’s chest.
He lingered a day or two longer, then died on July 7.
Sunderland’s Stadium of Light became a virtual shrine.
Football shirts, teddy bears, candles, scarves, balloons and hundreds of letters were pinned to the railings and left at the entrance to the ground.
His family said all were welcome to his funeral “to show how much he was loved”.
They added that they would be wearing the red and white striped shirts of Bradley’s favourite club.
A happier football story: For 13 years, Wayne Rooney, England’s former captain, was the shining light of Manchester United Football Club, appearing 559 times and scoring 253 goals.
But Rooney came from that part of Liverpool that supported Everton FC, the club he played for before being transferred to Man U.
Now aged 31, Rooney has re-signed for Everton, where he plans to end his career.
In his signing-on interview, he smilingly declared that while he was totally loyal during the years he played for Manchester United, when he went to bed, he put on Everton pyjamas.
A teacher was arrested at JFK Airport in New York while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a compass, a slide-rule and a calculator.
The Attorney-General said the man was believed to be a member of the notorious al-Gebra movement.
He was charged with carrying weapons of maths instruction.
The Attorney-General said, “al-Gebra is a problem for us. They derive solutions by means and extremes and sometimes go off on tangents in search of absolute values. They use secret code names like X and Y.”
As the Greek philosopher Isosceles used to say “There are three sides to every triangle”.
President Trump said: “If God had wanted us to have better weapons of maths instruction, he would have given us more fingers and toes.”
White House aides told reporters they could not recall a more profound statement by the President.