Saturday, June 04, 2016

Prison staff reluctant to tackle Islamic extremists for fear of being labelled racist, reveals damning report 'buried' by officials

  • Review says inmates are aware of staff feeling vulnerable to race claims
  • Independent report  also suggests that jihadis be kept on separate blocks
  • Experts believe this will stop them from recruiting other Muslims in jails
  • Over 12,000 Muslims in English and Welsh jails with 130 terror convicts 
Report: A review claims prison officers are being exploited by Islamic inmates in British jails
Report: A review claims prison officers are being exploited by Islamic inmates in British jails
Prison staff are reluctant to tackle Islamic extremists in fear of being labelled racist.

An damning report claims that officers were being exploited by Islamic inmates in British jails who are aware staff are worried about losing their job due to racism complaints.

The independent review, commissioned by Justice Secretary Michael Gove, also recommended that Islamic prisoners convicted of terror offences be kept away from other Muslims in a specially designed blocks at high-security jails, reports the Sunday Times.

Experts believe this will stop the cons from meeting up with other non-militant inmates and using occasions such as Friday prayers as a chance to recruit them for their jihadi cause.

Publication of the review, conducted by former Home Office official Ian Acheson and to be released next month, was delayed by Government bosses over fears that it might have been toned down in order to take criticism away from National Offender Management Scheme (NOMS) staff.

Over 12,000 Muslims are behind bars in England and Wales with 130 of those serving terror related sentences, while Government officials believe that 1,000 could be vulnerable to radicalisation. 

The review, that was originally given to Mr Gove in March, claims NOMS is 'effectively asleep' in dealing with extremism in the nation's jails and that they do not have the skills or the resources to deal with the epidemic.

A Whitehall official told the Sunday Times: 'The findings are very uncomfortable for the Government, because they will leave NOMS bruised and embarrassed.

'That's why there has been a chorus of opposition to publishing it in its current form, and officials have even considered publishing a watered-down version, but even then that's being blocked.'

The official added that the Justice Secretary was 'determined' to expose the extremism in our prisons. 

The report comes as it is revealed that just one in eight British jihadi fighters, who have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS and al-Qaeda, have been prosecuted on their return to the UK.

Government figures show that of the estimated 400 homegrown extremists only 54 of them have been convicted of an offence.

Experts believe that some jihadists fake their own deaths and take on different identities to avoid prosecution on arrival.

While jihadis are escaping justice on their way back into country, government sources say that those who are serving sentences are manipulating prison officers. 

Staff believe they will be 'hung out to dry' by their bosses if they are subject to fake claims of racism by Islamist inmates.

Many cons are said to be are aware of the anxiety and are 'routinely' threatening staff with such claims as a result.

While fact-finding for the review, researchers visited jails in Holland, Spain and France, where managers were shocked that governors allowed terror criminals to fraternise with other Muslim inmates.

A prison governor said that housing dangerous Islamic extremists, such as Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, who brutally killed fusilier Lee Rigby in 2013, means that jails can become breeding grounds for hate.

He told the Sunday Times: 'The problem with having the most dangerous terrorists and Islamists meeting with Muslim offenders locked up for crimes unrelated to terrorism is you create and environment for recruitment and likely radicalisation.' 

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said the department was committed to tackle extremism in the prison system.

He said: 'Islamist extremism is one of the biggest threats facing this country. 
'That is why the Justice Secretary commissioned the first ever review of Islamist extremism in prisons. 

'As we have made clear, the report has been received and a summary document will be published in due course. The MoJ and NOMS are already taking forward urgent work in this area.' 

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