"When governments justify the necessity to segregate and/or isolate terrorist inmates from mainstream prisoners, they commonly raise concerns about their prisons becoming schools for terrorism. Yet, these concerns are often based on limited information about prisoner radicalization, potentially resulting in the mismanagement (both financially and psychologically) of terrorist inmates in many countries. This article challenges contemporary research on prison radicalization and recruitment by highlighting several factors that may hamper these activities to demonstrate why some prison regimes and their programmes for housing terrorist inmates face a greater risk than others. In contrast to other studies, this article concludes that the radicalization and recruitment of mainstream prisoners by terrorist inmates under certain prison conditions is not necessarily a given outcome" (p. 74). Sections of this article include: abstract; introduction; prison case studies—the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Pakistan; radicalization and the prison environment; ad conclusion. "This article has provided an alternative perspective to contemporary discussion on prison radicalization, which appears to over-state the threat by viewing all prisons as ‘schools’ or ‘universities’ for terrorism. However, by examining a cross-section of correctional systems, this article has identified several factors that challenge common perceptions about the schools or universities for terrorism theory. It concludes that prison radicalization and recruitment for Islamist militant groups are more the exception than the rule and, when prison radicalization has occurred, the chances of these inmates then being recruited into a terrorist group are slim. In addition, once released, the relationship between these individuals committing acts of terrorism and their time in prison is tenuous at best" (p. 95).
This report explains how violence due to prison radicalization by Muslims is a rare event. "This report assesses the radicalization of Muslim prisoners in post-9/11 America. In the last decade, Muslim prisoners have been scrutinized for ties to terrorist and other extremist organizations, not to mention characterized as both a “threat” and a “danger” to national security, due to the influence of foreign jihadist movements. However, closer scrutiny shows that these fears have failed to materialize—indeed, despite the existence of an estimated 350,000 Muslim prisoners, there is little evidence of widespread radicalization or successful foreign recruitment, and only one documented case of prison-based terrorist activity. Nonetheless, some prison systems have implemented an aggressive posture toward these inmates and have made suppressive tactics their bedrock policy. This approach unfortunately overlooks Islam’s long history of positive influence on prisoners, including supporting inmate rehabilitation for decades " (p. 5). Sections of this report following an executive summary include: introduction to the politics of Islam and radicalization in American prisons—social fears vs. social science; how Islam operates in American prisons—effects of Islamic values and beliefs on inmate behavior, and the role of social networks; investigating extremist views and violence among Muslim inmates—failure to define terms and the problem, whether prisons are factories for extremists, and understanding the challenges of extremist ideology; and conclusion—false alarms, toward best practices, fostering an Islamic marketplace, and stabilizing prisoner re-entry.