Prison terror strategy ‘a self-fulfilling prophecy’

By staff

Security methods directed towards Muslim prisoners are in danger of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy, the inspector of prisons has said.

Dame Anne Owers said training for prison staff to recognise sings of radicalisation had developed into a view of all Muslim prisoners as “potential extremists”.

Instead of a blanket approach, she argued the National Offender Management Service (Noms) should treat Muslims like individual prisoners “with specific risks and needs”.

Dame Anne continued: “Without that, there is a real risk of a self-fulfilling prophecy: that the prison experience will create or entrench alienation and disaffection, so that prisons release into the community young men who are more likely to offend, or even embrace extremism.”

Under one per cent of the Muslim prison population has been convicted of a terrorist offence.

“It would be naive to deny that there are, within the prison population, Muslims who hold radical extremist views, or who may be attracted to them for a variety of reasons,” Dame Anne said.

“But that does not argue for a blanket, security-led approach to Muslim prisoners in general.”

Prison authorities said all prisoners were treated with respect.