The justice services trade union, Community, has welcomed the publication of a review by Ian Acheson published today into Islamist extremism in prisons. In response to the review the government has announced plans to hold extremist prisoners in separate units within prisons and to provide more training for prison officers.
Adrian Axtell, National Officer for Community, said:
“We welcome the publication of the Acheson review and the government should look carefully at all its recommendations. The government is right to target resources towards more training for prison officers who play such a vital role in rehabilitating offenders and stopping the spread of radicalisation. But to be effective and to ensure the safety of prison staff, the training needs to be carefully developed, implemented and resourced. Importantly, private prisons must not be overlooked or underfunded as the government takes further steps to solve these challenges.
“The government’s announcement today that it wants to create separate units for extremist prisoners requires much more detail and further examination to ensure that this approach will work. These proposed changes are coming at a time when prisons are facing a crisis of rising violence coupled with cuts to funding and difficulties retaining experienced staff, so the government should be under no illusion that there no quick fixes. Nevertheless, Community stands ready to represent the views of our members on the front line to the government, NOMS and the private prison employers.”
Community launched a campaign for the government and prison contractors to adopt a ‘Safe Operating Solutions’ charter to create a safer justice sector.