UK opens 'separation jails' for inmates convicted of terrorism

#Crime

First of three centres opens to prevent 'most dangerous and subversive' inmates from influencing others

Britain is on a high state of terrorism alert after a spate of attacks (AFP)
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Thursday 6 July 2017 14:21 UTC
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Britain on Thursday began housing "Islamist extremists" in separate prison units to prevent them radicalising other inmates, the government said.

A new "separation centre" has been opened at Frankland jail near Durham, northeast England, the home office said.

It is first of three centres which together will have a capacity of 28 inmates.

"The most dangerous and subversive offenders are now being separated from those they seek to influence and convert," said the minister for prisons, Sam Gyimah.

The move was recommended in a review, published last year, which highlighted similar schemes in the Netherlands, France and Spain.

It found some "charismatic" prisoners were acting as self-styled "emirs" and exerting a controlling and radicalising influence on the wider Muslim prison population, and also found some "aggressive encouragement" to convert to Islam.

The review also highlighted incidents of unsupervised collective worship, intimidation of prison imams and the availability of literature deemed 'extremist'.

Britain has suffered a string of attacks in recent months, and police say they have foiled 18 plots since 2013.

Official figures show there were 186 people in custody for terrorism-related offences and domestic extremism on March 31 this year, up 15 percent on the previous year.

In the year to March, 304 people had been arrested for terrorism-related offences - the highest number since records began in September 2001, and an annual increase of 18 percent.

Of these, 108 were charged and 88 were released on bail pending further investigation.

In the same year, 70 terrorism-related trials were completed by state prosecutors - up 55 percent from 51 in the previous year, with 68 resulting in convictions.