Searching for Extremists – Also in Prisons


This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)

A specialist team of counter-terrorism experts will be established in the UK  as the government steps up efforts to tackle extremism in prisons in England and Wales. The new taskforce will target all forms of extremism including far-right ideology.

A 100-strong taskforce will examine intelligence from around the country to assess the danger posed by radicalization behind bars. The unit will be the “nerve center” for all counter-terrorism and counter-extremist work across the prison estate and probation service. Its staff will advise jails on dealing with specific threats and help train personnel on how best to deter offenders from being lured into extremism.

According to, experts will also advise on the management of dangerous and high-profile extremist prisoners.

The development came against the backdrop of the conclusions of last year’s review ordered by the government. The assessment found that Islamist extremism has been a growing problem within jails, and detected evidence of offenders advocating support for Islamic State and “charismatic” prisoners acting as “self-styled emirs” to radicalize other inmates.

In response to that inquiry, the government announced plans to hold dangerous extremists in separate prison units. Figures have suggested authorities are managing more than 1,000 prisoners identified as extremist or vulnerable to extremism at any one time.

The new taskforce – jointly formed between HM Prison and Probation Service and the Home Office – will work closely with police and other enforcement agencies. A strategy center based in London will be supported by specialist regional teams across the country.

The unit builds on progress already made in addressing extremism, the Ministry of Justice said. Other measures taken include an instruction to governors to ban extremist literature and remove anyone from communal worship who is promoting anti-British beliefs or other dangerous views.