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UK Plans ‘Special’ Prison Cells For Islamic Extremists

REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter

U.K. prisons will now set up special quarters for Islamic extremist inmates to prevent them from radicalizing their fellow prisoners, U.K. Justice Secretary Liz Truss MP announced Sunday.

Truss stated the move is to stop extremist prisoners who want to “pedal poisonous ideology across the mainstream prison population.” Another goal of the justice secretary is to prevent extremists from planning future attacks with one another from behind bars.

“So people will be moved around and that will be an operational decision by the people who are the experts in dealing with counter-extremism,” Truss said.

Moving prisoners around constantly to prevent extremist plots or the dissemination of hateful ideology is known as the “ghost train,” according to a prison policy expert who spoke with The Guardian.

The move by the U.K.’s chief law enforcement officer comes in the wake of a scathing government-sponsored report by former prison governor, equivalent of a warden, Ian Acheson, slamming the current reach of extremism in U.K. prison populations. A summary of the report was published Monday stating, “the threat from [Islamic Extremism] IE can manifest itself in prison in various ways.”

IE makes its presence felt in the U.K. prison system is by, “intimidation of prison Imams; aggressive encouragement of conversions to Islam; attempts to prevent staff searches by claiming dress is religious; exploitation of staff fear of being labelled racist,” according to the report.

The Ministry of Justice Report along with Truss’ announcement comes in the wake of hate preacher Anjem Choudary’s trial. Choudray was found guilty earlier in August of fomenting support for Islamic State and will be sentenced in September.

He is expected to spend the next ten years behind bars for his links to many convicted terrorists in the U.K. in recent years. Choudary’s trial and imprisonment has long been expected, particularly in the wake of his swearing allegiance to ISIS in 2014 according to CNN.

Truss further stated in announcing the new counter-terrorism initiative that, “Preventing the most dangerous extremists from radicalizing other prisoners is essential to the safe running of our prisons and fundamental to public protection.”

“I  am committed to confronting and countering the spread of this poisonous ideology behind bars,” the justice secretary made clear.

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