Anti-radicalisation jails are being underused

Staff working at specialist units created to prevent extremists from radicalising vulnerable prisoners have claimed that the jails are undersubscribed.

The separation centres, often deemed jails-within-jails, were launched in 2017 to keep the most influential extremist prisoners from radicalising the broader prison population.

The first separation centre was opened in June 2017 at Frankland prison, before a second opened on March 2018 at Full Sutton. Their presence has provoked critics into accusing the Ministry of Justice of making ideologies more entrenched and discriminating against Muslims, particularly as all those separated were Muslim.

While the government department estimates that about 700 to 1,000 prisoners are considered a risk owing to their extremist views, staff at two of the three separation centres are reported to have confirmed that referral rates to the units were too low. Frankland prison and Full Sutton prison each have the capacity to hold eight prisoners, but between June 2017 and December 2018 were holding only three to six prisoners on average. A third facility at Woodhill prison is reportedly empty.


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