Birds of a feather

12th May 1995 at 01:00
In order to address the problems of overcrowding in our prisons and the shortage of teams to carry out OFSTED primary inspections, the Government has announced plans to include inspections as community service. Initial training will take place within high-security prisons; inside sources say the experience is not too different from being banged up in a hotel in Bournemouth, except the food is better.

Each team will be led by a registered lifer on parole (the criminal fraternity has declined to use the term "reggie" as a mark of respect) and must include a lay visitor. Convicted fraudsters are in demand for judging efficiency. OFSTED will not confirm reports that Eric Cantona is in a team due to inspect a Manchester primary school, covering PE, French and discipline.

The only flaw in this plan may be the rumour that an unidentified convicted violent offender has reported the proposal to the European Court of Human Rights on the grounds that it constitutes a cruel and unusual punishment.

David Meaden lives in London.

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