LONDON: A British prison unit designed to hold terrorist inmates has been slammed by a new independent report for hardening extremist beliefs among prisoners.
HMP Frankland in County Durham, England, hosts the specialist counterterror prison unit, which was flagged by a government organization for failing to keep inmates on deradicalization programs.
The facility, which previously housed notorious hate preacher Anjem Choudary, is the only terror separation center currently operating in the UK after the other two facilities were shut down in recent years.
The report by the Independent Monitoring Boards referred to a serious attack on a prison officer and a “number of serious incidents of violent behaviour” and wider “antagonism and hostility to staff” at HMP Frankland.
“Patterns of behaviour seem to have become entrenched, with concerted non-cooperation with the regime offered,” the report added. “The lack of engagement appears to preclude any progress towards progression.”
The UK’s deradicalization strategy has come under heavy scrutiny since the London Bridge stabbing attack on Nov. 29, 2019, when Usman Khan killed two volunteers from his rehabilitation program.
Britain’s counterterrorism strategy in prisons is once again under the spotlight, as it has emerged that Reading attacker Khairi Saadallah was able to socialize with Omar Brooks — an associate of Choudary — in prison.
The fresh revelations follow recent news that Saadallah repeatedly asked to be held at London’s HMP Belmarsh prison, which holds several notorious terrorists and has been a major site of radical networking.
Kyle Orton, an independent geopolitical analyst, told Arab News: “The recent Islamist terrorist attacks in Britain have underlined how unreliable the prison deradicalization programs are.”
He added: “They aren’t just ineffective, they’re providing false reassurance and giving opportunities for terrorists. The separation centers are better than allowing jihadists access to the general population to recruit, but the risks with short sentencing and networking remain.”