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  1. ITV Report

Jailed Islamic extremists to be held in separate units

Anjem Choudary is set to be jailed for terrorism offences Credit: PA

Jailed Islamist extremists are set to be held in separate prison units over fears they could radicalise other inmates.

An inquiry has revealed some prisoners act as "self-styled emirs" behind bars.

It also found that charismatic prisoners exert a "radicalising influence" over the wider Muslim population in jail.

Now ministers have confirmed planning is underway to remove the most dangerous extremists from the general population.

  • Fanatics in prison "aggressively" encouraging conversions to Islam
HMP Belmarsh houses a number of jailed Islamic extremists Credit: PA

Among other findings from the inquiry was evidence of fanatics in prison attempting to engineer segregation and exploit a fear among staff of being labelled racist.

Furthermore, the inquiry found evidence of aggressive encouragement" of conversions to Islam, unsupervised worship and intimidation of prison imams.

The review was carried out by former prison governor Ian Acheson and commissioned last year by then justice secretary Michael Gove.

Radical preacher Anjem Choudary, convicted of drumming up support for so-called Islamic State, is another extremist likely to face a spell behind bars once he is sentenced.

One of the key recommendations of the report was to stop those extreme individuals from being able to "proselytise" to other inmates.

Islamic extremism is, according to the report, a "growing problem" within prisons.

12,633
Muslims in prison in England and Wales as of end of June
147
Number of those jailed for terrorism-related offences (137 considered themselves to be Muslim)
1,000
Number of prisoners identified as extremist or vulnerable to extremism

As well as the introduction of specialist units, governors have been instructed to ban extremist literature and remove anyone from Friday prayers who is "promoting anti-British beliefs or other dangerous views".

Measures also include improving extremism prevention training for all officers and strengthened vetting of prison chaplains.

Islamist extremism is a danger to society and a threat to public safety - it must be defeated wherever it is found.

I am committed to confronting and countering the spread of this poisonous ideology behind bars.

Preventing the most dangerous extremists from radicalising other prisoners is essential to the safe running of our prisons and fundamental to public protection.

– Liz Truss, Justice Secretary

Shadow prisons minister Jo Stevens claimed the issue of radicalisation of vulnerable Muslim inmates and growing extremism in prisons had been "ignored by the Tories for over five years".