Extremists in British prisons will be held in “special units”, and there will be a crackdown on their literature and tightened vetting of chaplains, Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has decided in order to tackle extremism.
The MoJ on Monday said governors and prison officers will be given training and skills to prevent influential extremist prisoners exerting control and radicalising others being held in their prisons, Xinhua news agency reported.
“Prison officers will be equipped to crack down on extremist behaviour. They will be supported by a new directorate for security, order and counter-terrorism, responsible for monitoring and dealing with this evolving threat,” said the MoJ.
Governors have also been instructed to ban extremist literature and to remove anyone from Friday prayers considered to be promoting anti-British beliefs or others.
Under the new moves, the MoJ said the most dangerous Islamist extremists will be removed from the general prison population and held in specialist units in high security prisons.
The aim is to incapacitate violent extremists by keeping them away from other prisoners.
Secretary of State for Justice Elizabeth Truss said: “Islamist extremism is a danger to society and a threat to public safety. It must be defeated wherever it is found. I am committed to confronting and countering the spread of this poisonous ideology behind bars.”
“Preventing the most dangerous extremists from radicalising other prisoners is essential to the safe running of our prisons and fundamental to public protection,” said Truss.
A review team, led by former prison governor Ian Acheson, made over 60 prison visits in Britain and overseas, and interviewed more than 300 prison staff and policymakers before putting forward their recommendations.