UK plans "jails within jails" in a bid to prevent radicalisation

The British government will identify and then isolate extremists in separate holding centres to prevent recruitment inside prisons, starting with the high-security HMP Frankland.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

An attack which killed three people near the Houses of Parliament in London on March 22, 2017 was carried out by a British-born man under investigation for extremism.

The British government has taken measures to prevent radicalisation in prisons and launched a "jails within jails" scheme to isolate extremist prisoners.

Since the recent attack in London carried out by Khalid Masood, a prison convert who was investigated for extremism, the government has launched a crackdown. This includes a review of prisons which found there was a risk of radicals using their time behind bars to recruit others.

"They are fertile recruiting grounds," Tom Gash, an author and advisor to the government on crime, said about prisons.

HM Prison Frankland, the highest-security prison, is the first in the UK to open a separation centre. Three such units will eventually be created there and each will hold up to 28 offenders who pose the greatest risk of influencing other prisoners.

However, this is taking place without the required trained staff as prison budgets have been slashed.

The Prison Officers Association argues this risks creating a Guantanamo-style prison system inside the UK.

"I don't think secure and isolated units will be eradicating the world of radical elements and extreme narratives," a prominent Bangladeshi-born British imam and politician, Amjal Masroor said.

"We are only dealing with symptoms right now, not the cause." 

TRT World’s Sara Firth reports.