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As new plans emerge on controlling extremism within the secure estate, we take a look at the recommendations, which include plans to establish ‘separate prisons’ within the UK’s highest security jails.

Isolated from other inmates, the units will be sealed off from the main prison and offenders will receive targeted treatment to address their views.

On the release of the plans, newly appointed Justice Secretary, Liz Truss, said:

Preventing the most dangerous extremists from radicalising other prisoners is essential to the safe running of our prisons and fundamental to public protection.

Governors and prison staff, including prison offender healthcare staff, will “be given the training, skills and authority needed to prevent influential extremist prisoners exerting control and radicalising others”, reports the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

Although the exact details are yet to emerge, prison staff will be supported by a new directorate for Security, Order and Counter-Terrorism.

Governors have also been told to ban extremist literature and to remove people from Friday prayers if they are promoting what the MoJ refers to as “anti-British beliefs or other dangerous views” and prison chaplains will also face a more rigorous vetting process.

The plan to build separate units inside maximum security prisons is not a new concept. The proposals are similar to the changes that were made in the French criminal justice system, where radical prisoners are detained in a separate unit to the main prison population.

In summing up the government’s new approach Truss, said:

“Islamist extremism is a danger to society and a threat to public safety – it must be defeated wherever it is found. I am committed to confronting and countering the spread of this poisonous ideology behind bars.”

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