The UK Ministry of Justice [official website] announced [press release] on Friday plans to separate 28 “dangerous extremist” from the main stream prison population by placing them in one of three separation centers. Prisoners who are subject to separation are those who were involved in planning terrorism or are considered to pose a risk to national security. Prime Minister Sam Gyimah has stated that the centers are necessary to combat extremism in prison and to limit the influence of extremists on other prisoners. Prisoners who are in the centers will undergo a review by experts every three months. They can be returned to the general prison population if it is determined that their risk can be effectively managed in the prisons. The first center will be established in the next few weeks at HMP Frankland. The ministry says the centers are the latest part of the UK’s extremism strategy. Other steps include new training materials to prison officials, the formation of the Security, Order, and Counter-Terrorism directorate, a new intelligence unit for prisons, and banning extremist literature from prisons.
Critics [Daily Mail report] of the decision have compared the centers to the US’s Guantanamo Bay. Former President Barack Obama had sought [JURIST report] to close Guantanamo Bay while he was in office. In January Oman’s Foreign Minister announced [JURIST report] that it accepted 10 detainees from Guantanamo Bay upon request from the Obama administration. In December a detainee was transferred [JURIST report] from Guantanamo Bay to the government of Cape Verde, a small country off the Western coast of Africa. In September the Obama administration shut down [JURIST report] Camp 5 of Guantanamo Bay, which was a 100-cell maximum security prison.