The common belief that the prisoners are living in prisons under conditions too comfortable will be ended in a move by the justice secretary who is to announce stoppage of perks such as television, the freedom to wear their own clothes and shorter working hours.
The justice secretary will announce that all criminals will have to earn perks and privileges rather than only being removed from inmates who behave poorly.
This move is being seen as a follow up of the criticism of the prison regime after it emerged that inmates had access to satellite television and were watching violent films while in custody. Some critics compared the prison life to holiday camps.
To start with in future all prisoners will have to wear uniforms and will be banned from having television in their cells.
There will be a blanket ban on subscription television channels and access to 18-certificate DVDs. Prisoners who cause damage will also be charged for the costs of repairs.
If they want to have access to cash and or visit gyms they will have to demonstrate that they were determined to reform their behaviour.
Prison regimes will also be changed so that criminals have to work a longer day rather than “watching daytime television”.
Mr Grayling said there had been a perception that privileges were an automatic right given as a reward for staying out of trouble but it would not continue.
Prisoners need to earn privileges, not simply through the avoidance of bad behaviour, but also by working, taking part in education or accepting the opportunities to rehabilitate themselves.
He added the scheme has been reviewed in full and the public should be rest assured about that. Re-offending could be cut only by tackling bad behaviour and taking part in education or work programmes as well as addressing any alcohol or drug issues.
A system of 18 activities and items to be earned by prisoners will be introduced nationally within the next six months.
Mr Grayling will also seek more rigorous work for inmates and feels that it was not fair that some prisoners appeared to be spending hours in their cells and watching daytime television while the rest of the country was working.
Conservative MPs said that the conditions in jails were undermining public confidence in the prison system.
The announcement follows a review of prison conditions following complaints over apparently lax standards.