Dangerous terrorists to be sent straight to new high-risk prison wings under new Government rules
- Terrorists will be sent straight to special extremist wings in jails under new rules
- Currently prisoners can only be moved to the units upon signs of radicalisation
- The rule even applies to convicted terrorists who have history of preaching hate
The country’s most dangerous terrorists will be sent straight to specialist extremist wings in jails following sentencing under new Government rules.
Units for prisons’ most high-risk, radicalising terrorists were established in 2017 to stop extremists spreading their ideology to other inmates. Currently there are three such units in operation across the country, which held around ten terrorists earlier this year.
The Government is moving to expand the use of the units – known as separation centres – and has now changed the rules so that prisoners can be referred to the wings immediately after being sentenced in court.
Previously jail staff could apply to move extremists into the units as a last resort and only after spotting any tell-tale signs of radicalisation inside prison – even when a convicted terrorist has a long-documented history of preaching hate.
New rules will allow prisoners to be immediately sent to ‘separation centres’ after being sentenced instead of waiting for signs of radicalisation (pictured: Hashem Abedi, who organised the Manchester Arena bomb attack and has reportedly been held in a high-risk unit)
Among those who have been held in the units are a high-explosives bomb expert, an Islamic State fighter, and reportedly Hashem Abedi, who organised and directed the Manchester Arena bomb attack which killed 22 people in 2017.
Radical hate preacher Anjem Choudary, who was released in 2018, was one of the first prisoners to be held in the terror unit at HMP Frankland, near Durham.
A second unit at HMP Woodhill, Milton Keynes, is now fully operational, and a third specialist terror wing at HMP Full Sutton, near York, is on standby.
There are currently around 220 terrorist offenders in UK jails, with a similar number on an ‘at-risk’ radar over fears they could be radicalised, more than four-fifths of which are of Islamist ideology.
Secretary of State for Justice Dominic Raab called the rule change common sense
Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Justice Dominic Raab described the rule change as ‘common sense’.
He said: ‘With more and more terrorists being convicted and jailed for longer, we must prevent the most dangerous from radicalising the rest of the prison population.
‘So we are changing the rules to target the most dangerous offenders, so they can be sent directly from the dock of a court into one of our top security separation centres.’
Mr Raab added: ‘We also need to pass our Bill of Rights, to safeguard our ability to make these common-sense changes.
‘That will prevent terrorists using the Human Rights Act to claim a ‘right to socialise’ in prison – protecting the public and making our streets safer.’