Staff ‘fears’ over Muslim inmates

A prison inspection report has detailed the “fear” felt by staff at Whitemoor high security jail in Cambridgeshire at the radicalisation of Muslim prisoners. The Chief Inspector of Prisons said the findings highlighted a growing “disaffection and distance” between Muslim inmates and the prison system. Anne Owers said the growing situation “urgently” needed addressing. The National Offender Management Service said work to improve prisoner and staff relations was “a priority”. Ms Owers said the Prison Service “needs to equip staff better to deal with the growing number of Muslim prisoners”. Her report comes about four months after the publication of a report by the Prison Service which also expressed concern about problems with the high number of Muslim inmates at Whitemoor.

Ms Owers’ report says a fundamental problem at HMP Whitemoor is the relationship between staff and the 120 Muslim inmates – almost a third of the total number of prisoners. According to inspectors, officers tended to treat Muslim prisoners as extremists and potential security risks, even though only eight of them had been convicted of terrorist offences. Officers expressed a “fear” that increasing numbers of prisoners were converting to Islam and being radicalised.

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