A prison inspection report has detailed the “fear” felt by staff at Whitemoor high security jail in Cambridgeshire at the radicalisation of Muslim prisoners.
The Chief Inspector of Prisons said the findings highlight a growing “disaffection and distance” between Muslim inmates and the prison system.
Anne Owers said the growing situation “urgently” needed addressing.
The National Offender Management Service said work to improve prisoner and staff relations was “a priority”.
Ms Owers said the Prison Service “needs to equip staff better to deal with the growing number of Muslim prisoners”.
Apparently, prison staff are afraid that an increasing number of prisoners are converting to radical Islam and even report forced conversions by Muslim prison gangs.
But the real problem is this: Owers says that “staff were reluctant to tackle ‘inappropriate behaviour’ and that Muslim prisoners were able to ‘police themselves’… This inspection and others have charted a growing disaffection and distance between those prisoners and the prison system, a gap which urgently needs to be bridged.”
What is going on?
Earlier this week a report commissioned by the EU warned that urgent action is needed to stop brainwashing being carried out by jailed extremists.
Why are the prison authorities not in control of the environment? Prisons are not democracies, after all. It is the one situation where the State ought to unequivocally have a firm monopoly on control, force and power.
I think there is an argument for the secularisation of prisons. Does providing ‘sacred space’ for prisoners simply make ‘no go’ areas for the wardens?
According to the BBC report, a Dr Peter Neumann from King’s College London has suggested creating “jihadist prisons” in which to isolate Islamist militants and stop them poisoning the minds of other inmates. I’m not sure this is a solution. Unless these have major, concerted and effective deprogramming agendas, you’d have to be prepared to hold these people for life. If the authorities can’t control a few militants in among a general prison population, how are they going to control all the bad eggs in one basket?