'Poisonous and repugnant' prisoners isolated from other inmates to combat extremism

A number of men convicted on terrorism charges have started being placed in specialist units in prison to prevent them from radicalising other inmates.

Apr 3, 2017

A number of men convicted on terrorism charges have started being placed in specialist units in prison to prevent them from radicalising other inmates.

HMP Frankland in Durham became the first prison in England and Wales to launch the counter-extremism unit on Monday (April 3).

The unit will regularly consult counter-terrorism experts for advice on how to deal with specific threats, and how best to prevent offenders from being lured into extremism.

Prison governors and staff will also receive increased training and more resources to identify and remove extremist literature.

The security of our members will be paramount at all sites.

Frankland prison has already housed some notorious terrorists including Tanvir Hussain, who attempted to blow up a flight from Heathrow to the USA using liquid bottles, and Omar Khyam who plotted to blow up Bluewater shopping centre in Kent.

Lee Rigby’s killer Michael Adebalajo was recently moved to the same prison amid concerns he was attempting to radicalise fellow inmates in Belmarsh.

The plans follow a Government report which recommended that extremists who present a risk to national security through “subversive behaviour, beliefs and activities” should be removed from the general prison population and given “deradicalisation interventions”.

However, general secretary of the Prison Officers Association Steve Gillan, said the union is unsure whether segregation is the answer to combating extremism.

“We have vast experience of that in Northern Ireland and it didn’t work there, it made the situation worse,” he said.

“We remain neutral and will watch to see what impact it will have. The security of our members will be paramount at all sites.”

Prisons Minister Sam Gyimah said: “Extremism is a danger to society and a threat to public safety. It is right we come together to bolster our response to the threats posed by radicalisation behind bars, and give our hard-working staff the skills and knowledge they need to keep our prisons and communities safe.

“This new team will lead this strand of important work to help combat and defeat terrorist threats posed by offenders in the prison estate and in the community.

“By countering the poisonous and repugnant activities of extremists, we will help ensure the safe running of our prisons and keep the public safe.”

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