Government bolsters crackdown on extremism in prisons

As part of the Government’s commitment to tackling extremism, a second separation centre has been opened to curtail the influence of the most disruptive prisoners

A second separation centre to house the most subversive prisoners has opened as the Government redoubles its efforts in the fight to stamp out extremism – amid a surge in numbers jailed for terrorism-related offences.

The centre, at HMP Full Sutton, delivers on our commitment to curtail the influence of the most disruptive inmates, with a third such facility set to be in operation by the end of the year. The first opened at HMP Frankland in July 2017.

In addition, a new intelligence unit has been established while thousands of staff have received specialist training to spot signs of radicalisation, with every new prison officer enrolled on the programme.

It follows a 75% increase in prisoners convicted of terrorism-related offences in the last three years, resulting from the Government’s unprecedented action to counter extremism, radicalisation and terrorism.

With 700 prisoners considered a risk due to their extremist views, and foreign fighters returning from Syria and Iraq hardened and dangerous, the Government is meeting the challenge of confronting and countering the spread of poisonous ideology within prisons.

We have significantly increased our resources to tackle extremism in prisons, appointing 100 counter-terrorism specialists and training up more than 13,000 frontline staff to ensure they can identify, report and tackle extremist behaviour in all its forms.

The new intelligence unit will boost the ability of prison officers to target those who present the greatest extremist threat.

Justice Secretary David Gauke said:

"As a result of the Government’s unprecedented action to protect the public from extremists, we have seen a 75 per cent rise in terrorism-related prisoners over the last three years.

"That means we need to do more than ever before to confront and counter the threat, including the spread of all forms of poisonous ideology within prisons – and we are meeting that challenge.

"With thousands of prison staff now trained to deal with extremism, an enhanced intelligence capability and separation centres for the most subversive prisoners, we are well equipped to deal with this threat."

The second centre will allow more offenders to be separated from the mainstream prisoner population, providing a crucial provision in tackling extremism. Offenders are placed in the centre if they are involved in planning terrorism or are considered to pose a risk to national security. Those seeking to influence others to commit terrorist crimes, or whose extremist views are undermining good order and security in prison, can also be placed there.