Islamist extremism is on the rise in prisons and staff fear they'll beaccused of racism if they do anything to stop it says report


By Richard Spillett for MailOnline15:38 13 Jul 2016, updated 15:50 13 Jul 2016


  • Damning review carried out by former governor makes series of criticisms
  • He says little work was done to repair for the return of ISIS jihadists
  • The 'nihilistic death cult ideology' is 'magnified inside prison', he says
Islamist extremism is a growing and potentially lethal problem in prisons, a major review has warned.
Staff lacked the confidence and training to confront and deter Islamist extremist ideology on the landings, and were often fearful they would be accused of racism if they did, the review found.
Ian Acheson, a former prison governor, was asked to lead a review of radicalisation in jails last year.
Setting out his findings for the first time today, he told the Commons Justice Committee that the highly critical assessment makes 69 recommendations.

A damning review of the way extremism is tackled in Britain's prisons has found staff are too scared of being branded 'racists' if they attempt to intervene 
A damning review of the way extremism is tackled in Britain's prisons has found staff are too scared of being branded 'racists' if they attempt to intervene 

Mr Acheson said there is intelligence to say there are a small number of people 'proselytising this pernicious ideology, this lethal, nihilistic death cult ideology, which gets magnified inside prison'.
He said: 'The service had made no provision at all to forecast the return of jihadi fighters from Afghanistan or SIS-controlled territory or anywhere else, because the service was, frankly, big enough to absorb that. I found that quite astonishing.'
Training in relation to Islamist extremism talked about al Qaida but there was no mention of ISIS, MPs heard.
There were numerous examples of extremist literature being found, while the recruitment, training and supervision of prison imams was 'seriously deficient', the review added.
Mr Acheson spoke of an 'institutional timidity' in 'confronting this problem front and central'.
He added: 'There was a disconnect between what was happening operationally in the field in terms of individual prisons dealing with the phenomenon ... and what was happening at the corporate centre.'

Reviewer Ian Acheson said the extremist unis were 'not about prisons for Muslims'. File photo
Reviewer Ian Acheson said the extremist unis were 'not about prisons for Muslims'. File photo

The review found that the 'extremism unit' at Noms 'lacked an actual strategy to deal with extremism'.
Mr Acheson said: 'It seemed more concerned with briefing and collating information than providing robust operational support to the front line.'
At a small number of prisons, particularly outside the high-security estate, the phenomenon was 'quite serious' and 'not being dealt with or controlled properly despite the best efforts of the operational staff on the front line', the committee was told.
He went on: 'The problem is serious but it is not out of control. There are a number of prisons where the problem is particularly serious.'
In some instances 'immediate action' is needed in relation to the protection of staff and prisoners.
One of the key recommendations to emerge from the review was the creation of units to 'isolate' and 'incapacitate' a small number of prisoners to stop them being able to 'proselytise' to other inmates.
Describing a possible model, he said: 'These people are placed in units. These units are not in any way punitive, but they are completely physically isolated from the rest of the prison grounds.'
The units would not have a special name and would probably be newly-built in the existing high-security estate.
He stressed it was 'emphatically not about prisons for Muslims or prisons for terrorists', adding: 'It is a very nuanced response to a very serious problem.'
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Source http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3688488/Islamist-extremism-rise-prisons-major-review-finds.html

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