Islamist extremist inmates in Britain’s jails face a security crackdown amid fears they could mount a terrorist atrocity behind bars. Counterterrorism and intelligence officials are concerned that imprisoned terrorists will attempt a publicity coup by filming an attack on non-Muslim prison guards and posting it online using smuggled mobile phones.
A Whitehall source says that one proposal to deal with this is to set up a counterterrorism unit within the prison service, to be part of the National Offender Management Service (Noms) police and MI5 managing Islamist and terrorist prisoners for the duration of their imprisonment. There are another 50 recommendations made by a a review into prison extremism commissioned by the Justice Secretary Michael Gove.
Other proposals are ‘the “recategorisation” of terrorist and Islamist prisoners to ensure their behaviour is more closely monitored, and more stringent security vetting of prison chaplains, including Muslim imams’.
“There would be a category of prisoners which will include the people sentenced for terrorist-related activity and people who have become radicalised in custody and are therefore at risk of committing terrorist offences,” a senior government official said. “Some of these people are an enduring threat to national security whether they are inside or outside jail. If you’ve got very charismatic people in prison, you’re going to get some of them using mobile technology to continue to motivate people to plot.You also have the threat of a terrorist attack inside prison which is filmed and then disseminated.”
This case is an example of the sort of thing that will be plotted again.