Political News Updates

22.06.2014

Prisoners: Radicalism

Dr Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps his Department is taking to prevent the spread of Islamic extremism among the prison population. [201335]

Jeremy Wright: We are alert to the risks posed by individuals who may wish to radicalise others, and we are committed to tackling radicalisation in the prison environment as an important element of our responsibility to protect the public and reduce re-offending.
NOMS has in place a wide-ranging programme of work to manage individuals convicted of terrorist or related offences. This programme focuses on: increasing the counter-terrorism intelligence infrastructure working with partner agencies; ensuring provision of an effective Chaplaincy which can challenge extremist ideology; structured risk assessment tools and bespoke interventions; staff briefing and training, and robust processes for the management of offenders on release.

NOMS contributes to the cross-Government CT strategy CONTEST, and works alongside other Departments to manage the threat posed. As with all significant criminal threats, a multi-agency approach is taken to ensure that information and learning is shared between agencies.

Dr Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment his Department has made of the potential risks of imprisoned extremists returned from terrorist operations overseas (a) radicalising the Muslim prison population and (b) recruiting other prisoners to commit terrorist acts in the UK or overseas. [201336]

Jeremy Wright: I am responding to this question as I am the Minister responsible for the prison estate. We are well aware of the risks posed by individuals who return to the UK having gained experience, through training or participation, in terrorism overseas. At the current time clearly those travelling to and from Syria are of particular concern.

The Prison Service works closely with the Police and other Agencies in all areas of Counter Terrorism work; including where individuals are held in custody having returned from overseas. All prisoners are managed according to the risk they pose, taking into consideration all relevant information and intelligence that is identified.

The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) has long recognised the threat posed by terrorists and extremists, and has considerable experience in managing this threat. The Prison Service will continue to use its well established and effective three-tiered response: to identify behaviour that may indicate extremism, to report it using established intelligence systems, and to manage it through disruption and intervention.