- Lord Falconer warned that prisons were becoming 'terrorist academies'
- He said that extreme Islamist inmates were taking control of prison wings
- Report due on how to stop extremism in prison still hasn't been published
- Prison service said it was not complacent about possible extremism risks
Lord Falconer has warned that prisons are becoming 'terrorist academies'
About 1,000 Muslim prisoners are at risk of being radicalised in British jails as part of 'terrorist academies'.
Lord Falconer has warned the number is higher than those who have travelled to fight in the Middle East and Syria.
The shadow justice secretary said that extreme Islamist inmates were taking control of some wings.
A report due on how to stop extremism in prison still hasn't been published, he added. He suggested that Michael Gove, the justice secretary, was concentrating on the EU referendum.
The Labour peer said the issue, combined with rising prisoner numbers and funding cuts means that jails have turned into a 'powder keg'.
He told The Sunday Times: 'Everything about the prisons is going wrong at the moment — assaults by prisoners on prison officers; assaults by prisoners on prisoners; prisoner suicides; incidents where riot squads are required to deal with trouble,' he said.
'If all of those things are going wrong, it is extraordinarily unlikely that [the combating of] radicalisation is also not going wrong.'
He wants Muslim inmates to be protected from Islamist gangs that intimidate and control some sections of prisons.
'We do not want a situation where vulnerable Muslims are being sent to terrorist academies in our high-security prisons without there being a strategy on how to deal with it,' he added.
Senior Home Office officials have produced a report on how extremism in prisons can be addressed but it has not been published.
It was expected to be released last month but no new publication date has been given.
Lord Falconer said it was Labour's policy to increase prison officer numbers and bring moderate imams into jails to engage with those interested in extremism.
Prisoner numbers are set to rise to 89,900 by 2020, while the Ministry of Justice budget falls from £6.8billion to £5.7bn.
The prison service said it was not complacent about the possible risks that Islamist extremism poses to jails.