Unpacking Radicalisation in a Prison Environment
Cambridge University : HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre of Islamic Studies
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Williams, R., Beckford, J., & Wilson, L. (2017). Unpacking Radicalisation in a Prison Environment. https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.18128
This document is the transcript of a meeting held in Cambridge in January 2017, under the auspices of the University of Cambridge’s Centre of Islamic Studies. The initiative, conceived and directed by Dr Ryan Williams, Research Associate at the Centre, brought together prison officers, police officers, academics and civil servants, to consider the challenges involved in managing issues around extremism in prisons. This discussion took place in the wake of the government’s Acheson report last year which identified ‘Islamic extremism [as] one of the most acute risks to the safety of prisoners and prison staff.’ It represented an opportunity – which we hope will be the first of several – for a range of professionals and academics to share perspectives on a range of critical issues in this fast-evolving policy area. These included: the pioneering history and critical role of prison chaplaincy in Britain and in comparison to other European countries; the complex reasons behind instances of conversion, in relation to issues around belonging, care and vulnerability, as well as belief; the role of role of “emirs” within hierarchies of Muslim prisoners; managing the relationship between security processes and the duty to recognise individuals’ religious rights and personal development; and the need to recognise the complexity and multifaceted nature of individual identities and motivations in assessing and understanding behaviours. Overall, the discussion highlighted the complexity of the tasks facing prison officers and staff, in managing security concerns and safety, cultivating and assessing trust, and ensuring the welfare and development of individual prisoners. This initiative has not sought to reach firm conclusions at this stage, but aims instead to play a role in fostering an ongoing conversation.
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.18128
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/290860