Plans to separate extremist prisoners from other inmates by putting them in the equivalent of "jails within jails" are being put in place as part of a new drive to tackle radicalisation behind bars.
Under the scheme three “separation centres” will be created in prisons in England and Wales to provide facilities where up to 28 of the most dangerous extremist prisoners can be housed in order to keep them away from mainstream inmates, the Ministry of Justice has confirmed.
Prisons Minister Sam Gyimah said the centres will be "a crucial part of our wider strategy to help tackle extremism in prison."
She said: "Any form of extremism must be defeated wherever it is found, and it is right that we separate those who pose the greatest risk in order to limit their influence over other prisoners."
Which prisoners will be relocated to the 'separation centres'
- Those involved in planning terrorism or considered to pose a risk to national security
- Those who are spreading views that might encourage or influence others to commit terrorism crimes
- Anyone whose views are being used in a way which undermines good order and security in prisons
According to the details of the plan once in a centre prisoners will be reviewed by experts every three months and returned to mainstream prison "if it is considered that the risk they present has reduced to a level that can be effectively managed there".
The first of the three separation centres is due to be up and running in HMP Frankland high-security prison, in Durham, in the coming weeks but no date has been given for the other two units that will follow.
It is understood the first group prisoners earmarked to be separated from the mainstream population has not yet been identified.