Muslim prisoners 'spread extremism'

Cahal Milmo
Saturday 11 October 2008 00:00

Muslim prisoners inside one of Britain's maximum security jails are attempting to force inmates to convert to an extremist form of Islam.

An inspection report on HMP Whitemoor in Cambridgeshire, which houses some of the country's most dangerous criminals, highlighted concerns that the jail was being used as a recruiting ground for radical Islam and found staff were reluctant to tackle "inappropriate behaviour" by Muslim inmates. It said Islamic prisoners were left to "police themselves".

Whitemoor has already been the focus of disquiet about its high number of Islamic inmates after a Prison Service report in June underlined problems in ensuring officers were equipped to deal with them. The jail has 120 Muslim inmates – almost a third of the total – but only eight have been convicted of terrorism.

The Whitemoor report echoes findings at HMP Belmarsh in London which found staff were "insufficiently trained" to tackle radicalisation.

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