Ministry of Justice
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Terrorists face longer in jail for offences in prison

Terrorists who continue offending in prison will always face the prospect of more time behind bars, the Deputy Prime Minister yesterday (Sunday 20 November) announced.

  • Terrorist prisoners face tougher sentences for offences behind bars
  • Automatic referral to police in a week and possible prosecution under new agreement
  • Meets key recommendation from landmark Jonathan Hall review on terrorism in jail

Under the tough new measures, all terrorist offenders who commit further crimes in jail – however minor - will be automatically referred within a week for a police investigation and potential prosecution.

This will increase the likelihood of them being locked up for significantly longer and create a strong deterrent against further offending.

Currently, additional offences carried out inside jail – such as vandalising cells or dealing in contraband - are often dealt with by prison governors, with a maximum penalty of only 42 days added to an existing sentence.

Yesterday’s change means they could face much longer sentences if convicted in court.

The agreement between HM Prison and Probation Service, Counter-Terror Policing and the Crown Prosecution Service fulfils a key recommendation from Jonathan Hall KC’s landmark independent review into terrorism in prisons.

Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary, Dominic Raab, yesterday said:

Terrorist offenders pose a grave risk to public safety and they must face the full consequences of their actions – whether on the street or behind bars.

This important change means any transgression will come with the prospect of significantly more prison time and keep our communities safer, for longer, from those unwilling to change their ways.

Head of Counter Terrorism Policing, Matt Jukes, yesterday said:

Our core mission at Counter Terrorism Policing is keeping the public and our communities safe from the enduring and evolving terrorist threat.

This agreement demonstrates that our efforts to mitigate that threat, and protect our national security, are far-reaching and rely on collaboration with our partners.

Director of Legal Services, Crown Prosecution Service, Gregor McGill, yesterday said:

When a crime is committed in a prison there are serious consequences.

Today’s updated agreement continues to ensure that police, prisons and the CPS work together to investigate and prosecute prisoners who commit acts of terrorism or serious violence, wherever our legal test is met.

Those who commit crimes while serving their sentences risk further charges and longer sentences.

The agreement will make sure that breaches in behaviour by those linked to terror face the full scrutiny of counter-terrorism authorities - so that those who remain a threat are kept behind bars for as long as possible.

Those alleged to have committed potential terrorist acts in prison will continue to be referred to specialist police as part of the new pact, due to come into force in the coming months.

Yesterday’s news is just the latest step in the Government’s drive to clamp down on dangerous and influential terrorists and keep the public safe.

Ministers have already delivered the largest overhaul of terrorist sentencing and supervision in decades, including ending the automatic early release of terrorist offenders and tougher sentences for the most serious crimes.

And in April this year, the Deputy Prime Minister unveiled measures to crack down on terrorist activity behind bars, in response to an independent review by Jonathan Hall KC, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation.

As part of these measures, a new £1.2 million team will ensure the most influential terrorists can be moved to one of the Prison Service’s ‘Separation Centres’ - completely apart from the main prison population.

In addition, £6 million will be invested to expand ‘Close Supervision Centres’, where the most physically violent offenders can be held – including terrorists. This will prevent their potential recruitment to extremist causes.

Notes to Editors:

  1. The new agreement forms part of the newly updated Crime in Prisons Referral Agreement.
  2. Recommendation ten in Jonathan Hall’s Independent Report into Terrorism in Prisons recommended that:
    1. ‘A specific crime in prison agreement between HMPPS, CT Police, and the Crown Prosecution Service should be drawn up on the subject of potential terrorist offences, and offences committed by terrorist risk offenders.’
    2. Jonathan Hall KC observed in his Independent Report into Terrorism in Prisons, that the pre-existing Crime in Prison Referral Agreement did mention terrorist offending and offences by TACT offenders, however ‘the language and policy are difficult to follow’.


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