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05 October 2010

PRT response to Muslim prisoners thematic report by HM Prisons Inspectorate

Commenting on the report Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:

The Prison Reform Trust welcomes this timely report and its recognition of the important work conducted in prisons by Muslim chaplains. Too often Muslim prisoners are seen as potential extremists in the making instead of a diverse population in need of a safe environment, individual supervision and support and proper preparation for release. 

Danny Afzal, a reformed offender who is Muslim and is working with the Prison Reform Trust and CLINKS on a project on the resettlement needs of black, Asian and minority ethnic offenders, as well as on Goldsmith College’s Open Book project helping former offenders into higher education, said:

The vast majority of Muslim men in prison do not hold radical, extremist views. When I went to prison I found that practicing my religion gave me discipline, structure and kept me safe. One of the biggest problems I had when I was released was that there was no proper resettlement programme in place. More needs to be done to ensure that the resettlement needs of all prisoners are properly met.

According to HM Chief Inspectorate of Prisons fewer than 1% of the 10,300 Muslims in prison are there because of terrorist-related offences.