The summary of a report published by the Ministry of Justice has suggested that “self-styled emirs” are trying to radicalize others behind bars so it should consider holding Islamist extremists in separate prison units. The government-ordered review pointed out that “cultural sensitivity” among staff towards Muslim prisoners could “inhibit the effective confrontation of extremist views”.
The disclosures were made by an investigation into radicalisation in jails conducted by former prison governor, Ian Acheson, and commissioned last year by then justice secretary Michael Gove. The issue further came to light last week when one of Britain’s most prominent Islamist clerics, Anjem Choudary, faced being jailed for drumming up support for Islamic State. Ministers have indicated that planning is already under way to create specialist units within the high security estate in order to remove the most dangerous extremists from the general population. It was stressed that the new measures were necessary to stop a very small number of individuals from being able to “proselytise” to other inmates was one of the review’s key recommendations.
Justice Secretary Liz Truss mentioned in her remarks that “Islamist extremism is a danger to society and a threat to public safety – it must be defeated wherever it is found.” She alleged that prison staff will get the training and authority to root out extremism and “there are a small number of individuals, very subversive individuals, who do need to be held in separate units.”
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