NEWS

Terrorist Prison Population to Explode in England and Wales

By Matthew Harwood

The United Kingdom's Ministry of Justice has an eye-popping forecast, reports the Guardian.

The number of terrorist prisoners held in jails in England and Wales is expected to increase tenfold from 131 to more than 1,600 over the next 10 years, according to internal Ministry of Justice forecasts, it was revealed yesterday.

The initial projections handed to MPs on the Commons home affairs select committee suggest that 1,300 of them will need to be dealt with as high-security category A prisoners.

This poses logistical problems for the Prison Service,reports the paper, because of previous problems incarcerating Irish Republican Army prisoners during the ethno-separatist conflict in Northern Ireland. During that time, IRA inmates were concentrated in the H-Block of the notorious Maze prison which allowed inmates to foster a deep sense of solidarity, radicalize other inmates, and plan future operations.

Phil Wheatley, director general of the Prison Service, told the paper that the government will learn from prior lessons and not concentrate terrorist inmates together even if that means building new high-security prisons, which will take extra funds.

The paper provides a sketch of how Wheatley's Prison Service aims to deal with problems associated with terrorist inmates.

He said the balance in the argument lay with dispersing convicted terrorist prisoners throughout the high-security prison estate, with renewed efforts to monitor their activities and counter any attempts to radicalise others.... MPs have been sent evidence from Steve Wagstaffe, the Prison Service's director of high security prisons, warning that without "significant extra funding" he will be unable to properly manage the risks of disorder, radicalisation or plots to commit terrorist attacks by those in prison: "These risks could result in inadequate public protection," he said.

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