James Cleverly questions Government about positive male role models in prison

James Cleverly speaking in the House of CommonsJames Cleverly asks the Secretary of State for Justice about efforts to counter extremism and radicalisation in prisons and introducing positive male role models in particular.

James Cleverly (Braintree) (Con)

13. What steps the Government are taking to counter extremism and radicalisation in prisons. [900676]

The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Mr David Lidington)

We have established a new extremism unit, between Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service and the Home Office, to strengthen our approach to ​tackling the threat of extremism in prisons and probation. Prison governors and frontline staff in prisons and the probation service are being given the training, skills and authority needed to challenge extremist views and take action against them. The first separation centre at HMP Frankland in County Durham was opened in June 2017, and the first prisoners are now being held there. Those facilities will hold the most subversive extremist prisoners, protecting the more vulnerable from their poisonous ideology.

James Cleverly

Many young men start their journey towards radicalisation by seeking out in prison the strong male role models they so often lack in their lives outside. What is the Department doing to ensure that there are more better role models within the prison estate to guide them on to a better path?

Mr Lidington

My hon. Friend makes a powerful point, which I think has relevance not just to matters of penal policy but to social policy more generally. Many charitable and voluntary organisations are helping—for example, by bringing sport into prisons—to provide the adult male role models of which he wants more. In the context of extremism, it is also important to pay tribute to the work of the imams in the prison chaplaincy service who are arguing, from a basis of scholarship and expertise, to rebut the extremist ideology that some have espoused.

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