PRISONERS believe they have better morals and are kinder and more generous than those in the outside world, according to new research by psychologists from the University of Southampton.

The study has shown that prisoners believe themselves to have more pro-social characteristics – such as kindness, morality, self-control, and generosity – than non-prisoners.

The research also showed that prisoners did not rate themselves as more law-abiding than non-prisoners, but did rate themselves as equal.

The study, published in the British Journal Of Social Psychology, saw 79 prisoners from a jail in southern England fill out a questionnaire rating themselves against the average prisoner and average member of community.

A Southampton University spokesman said: “Participants rated themselves as superior to the average prisoner on all traits. Surprisingly, they rated themselves superior to the average community member on all traits as well, with one exception. Prisoners considered themselves as law-abiding as the average community member.”

The study also included researchers from Royal Holloway, University of London and Ohio University.