Britain’s most dangerous convicted Islamic terrorists are boycotting prison work, education, training and deradicalisation programmes that could rehabilitate them, a watchdog has revealed.
An investigation by Charlie Taylor, the chief inspector of prisons, found almost all the Islamic terrorists currently being held in special high-security “separation” units were “refusing to take part” in any purposeful activity or work to change their beliefs or behaviour.
The nine currently being held at two high-security jails, HMP Frankland in County Durham and HMP Woodhill in Buckinghamshire, are regarded as the highest risk prisoners and are held in separation units because of fears they could radicalise other prisoners.
They are believed to include Hashem Abedi, who helped organise the 2017 Manchester Arena attack, and at least one Islamic State fighter.
Mr Taylor’s report comes just months after a terrorism watchdog warned that prison staff were so concerned about being accused of racism that Muslim terrorists had been able to seize control of wings and set up sharia courts behind bars.
Mr Taylor’s report showed that the Islamic terrorists currently held in such separation units are resisting the regime or any attempt at rehabilitation as they feel they are victims of discrimination by being consigned to them.
“Almost all prisoners refused to take part in purposeful activity, complete offending behaviour work or engage with others such as imams and psychologists,” it said. This meant they had very limited “day-to-day interactions” with staff and could be cooped up in their cells for as long as 22 hours a day because of their refusal to participate in work, training or education. This also fuelled a “lack of trust” in staff, “which further impeded interactions”.
Most refused to take part in “formal risk reduction work” which meant prison staff had little idea whether they were changing their behaviour.
The terrorists had the opportunity to take part in two deradicalisation programmes, but “given their well-established religious and political beliefs and the potential peer pressure from their fellows, this was too big a step for most prisoners,”
“The expectation that men should address their offending behaviour by completing a formal intervention aimed at deradicalising their beliefs was proving unrealistic,” added the report.
I have said this before, but I’ll keep saying it. We need to look at a revival of the old penitentiary regime, fit for the 21st century. I appreciate that the early 19th century version (Millbank Prison, closed 1890, demolished 1903 and Lincoln Prison which was smaller and can now be visited within the Castle museum) moved on as it was felt that the prisoners’ mental health suffered. The prisoners then were mostly petty thieves and there were other better ways to rehabilitate them. These Islamic prisoners are serious murderers and are refusing rehabilitation; keeping them contained is the only way. Plus their ideology mandates similar isolation and seclusion for their women, so it is a concept familiar to them.