Prison system treats Muslims as potential extremists says new report

originally published by: IRR
published: 10th June 2010

The security-led approach by prison authorities towards Muslim prisoners has led to victimisation and a disproportionate use of segregation and restraint, according to a new report.

The Chief Inspector of Prisons, Dame Anne Owers, says blanket treatment of the Muslim prison population has focused largely on efforts to limit the spread of radicalisation and violent extremism, despite the fact that of the 10,300 Muslims currently in prison, less than one per cent are there on terror-related charges.

The report, entitled Muslim prisoner’s experiences, based on interviews with 164 Muslim prisoners in eight prisons along with prisoner surveys and inspection surveys from the past three years, reveals that Muslim prisoner’s frustration at being stereotyped as extremists was ‘the single most prominent theme’ to emerge from interviews.

They were also more likely than non-Muslims to report feeling unsafe and psychologically insecure because of how they were perceived by staff and other prisoners. Furthermore, wider public perception about Islam, and specifically, the links made between Muslims and terrorism in the media, was perceived widely by prisoners to have had a knock-on effect on their treatment in prison by staff.

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