Reid to launch Home Prison Initiative
Under the new "Home Prison Initiative", offenders will be invited to stay at home, but must promise to stay inside with the door locked and not do anything naughty.
David Davis, the shadowy home secretary, said prison overcrowding was due to "serial neglect by the government" and "some really naughty naughty people doing bad things".
Attorney General Lord Goldsmith has said the use of open prisons will not expose people to dangerous criminals, as the dangerous ones have usually left by the weekend.
A Home Office spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that, later today, the Home Secretary will make an announcement on measures he plans to take regarding prison spaces, which we can confirm will not include using the Big Brother House. That would be inhumane."
The prison population fell by 24 on Friday, according to official figures, but although the tunnel has now been found and closed, other inmates have been seen shuffling around the exercise yard depositing soil from their trousers.
It had recently reached a record 79,843, in theory leaving just 125 more spaces available, or 126 if they could get someone to share with Charles "Toecutter" Bronson. Since then the Home Office has admitted that it "doesn't have the faintest idea" how many prisoners there are, since many are now in police custody.
The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips of Worth Maltravers, has urged more use of community sentences, saying prison overcrowding made it difficult to rehabilitate inmates, as they keep looking over each other's shoulders and cheating in exams.
Some campaigners also contend prisoners who commit crimes to feed drug and alcohol addictions can often be better served outside jails, especially now there is 24-hour opening.