Britain’s failing jails are so violent and dangerous that they have become a “fertile breeding ground” for future terrorists and street gang leaders, a senior government adviser has warned.
In a 70-page report published on Monday, Ian Acheson, a former prison governor who led a government investigation into extremism in jails, says the state’s control of prisons has broken down, with inexperienced staff struggling to contain record levels of drug abuse, violence and overcrowding.
He warns that the 700 terrorist prisoners already held in jails will soon be joined by foreign fighters imprisoned on their return to the UK, alongside scores of gang members jailed as a result of the surge in street violence.
“Our unsafe prisons provide a fertile breeding ground in which predators, peddling extremist and violent ideologies, can prey upon the vulnerable, creating significant risks to national security and the public at large,” said Mr Acheson.
“On the present trajectory, it is all too conceivable that a future terrorist will have been groomed and radicalised within our prison estate.”