Troubled Wu-Tang Clan rapper OL' DIRTY BASTARD has been transferred from a New York prison to a mental institution.

The move came after officials deemed the GOT YOUR MONEY star unfit to return to society in the short term.

However pals of the singer are confident he will be released as early as July (03).

Fellow WU-TANG member GZA says, "It's good to have Ol' Dirty closer to us now. Now he is almost there, he is almost out for good."

Ol' Dirty Bastard was jailed in April 2001 when he pleaded guilty of possessing a controlled substance. He received a two-to-four year sentence.