Prisons Warned Over Treatment Of Muslims

Rob Cole, Sky News Online

The Prison Service risks turning Muslim prisoners into extremists unless it adopts a more integrated regime, a report has warned.

Treating all Muslims are as potential terrorists risks being a “self-fulfilling prophecy”, the Chief Inspector of Prisons said.

Dame Anne Owers warned that young Muslims were more likely to “embrace extremism” if a blanket security-led approach was taken to their care in prison.

The report, titled Muslim Prisoners’ Experiences, found there are around 10,300 Muslims in prisons around England and Wales.

“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 Owers said.

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

“It is essential that the National Offender Management Service (Noms) develops a strategy… for effective staff engagement with Muslims as individual prisoners with specific risks and needs, rather than as part of a separate and troubling group.

“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.”

It said that despite the jailing of several high profile terrorist suspects, fewer than one in a hundred Muslim inmates have been convicted of terrorism.

Officials found Muslim prisoners have a more negative experience of prison than others, often because of fears for their safety.

They also reported Islam played a positive and rehabilitative role in the lives of many prisoners despite staff being suspicious of religious acts.

The Sky

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