LONDON: Prisoners jailed for terror offences in the UK are pretending to have been deradicalized by rehabilitation programs, a report has revealed.
By using what experts called “false compliance,” inmates who deceived officials into believing they had reformed, posed more of a risk once released from jail, the King’s College London study claimed.
The university’s International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence (ICSR) said the practice was becoming more widespread in UK prisons.
Its report found that extremists, especially those who used Islam as their motivation for terror, viewed time spent behind bars as a “test of commitment” to their cause and actively looked to avoid suspicion from authorities during their sentence in order to speed up release.
“This can be a major issue in relation to risk assessment and release arrangements,” the report added.
The latest findings backed up claims made in January by psychologist Christopher Dean that terrorists might not be “cured” by prison deradicalization programs.
Dean designed the healthy identity intervention (HII) course which London Bridge attacker Usman Khan attended before his release.
Khan, 28, was a convicted terrorist and took part in a number of prisoner reform schemes, but upon release killed two people at a conference on rehabilitation at Fishmongers’ Hall on London Bridge in November 2019.
Sudesh Amman, 20, released from jail on license after serving a prison sentence for offences related to terrorism, was shot dead after stabbing two people in southeast London in February.
Dean told The Independent newspaper that his HII program aimed to “make individuals less willing to commit offences on behalf of a violent extremist group, cause, or ideology.
“Sometimes people move up two rungs, sometimes individuals may say, ‘I’ve had my doubts about this or that,’ and they may be willing to speak to people, but equally they may go down rungs as well.
“They may come into contact with individuals, they may go through a spell in life where they may feel, let’s say, aggrieved again, where they may begin to re-engage with groups or causes or ideologies associated with their offending behavior,” he added.
A counter-terrorism bill passed a third reading in the UK’s parliament on Tuesday and will give authorities more powers to test the effectiveness of deradicalization programs, including lie-detector tests to determine if a prisoner has truly reformed before release.
According to the ICSR report, the UK’S terrorist prison population has doubled since the rise of Daesh in 2014 and now stands at 238, with another 200 said to be a “terrorist risk.”