France to scrap special prison wings for dangerous jihadists

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France to scrap special prison wings for dangerous jihadists
Photo: AFP

France's Minister of Justice, Jean-Jacques Urvoas, announced on Tuesday the end of French prison wings for radicalized inmates, promising a new "regime" instead.


France has five prisons with experimental de-radicalisation wings for dangerous Islamist extremists, and all these units will be shut down.
Exact details of the new plan remain unclear at present, although the L'Express newspaper said that it would concentrate on the country's 300 prisoners considered to be the most dangerous. 
Prisoners "will be subjected to particularly severe detention in conditions close to solitary confinement", the paper reported. 
France's de-radicalization prison wings were rolled out in January this year, and saw prisoners who were convicted of terrorism housed in their own cells, where they were unable to communicate with anyone who they could potentially influence. 
The inmates had to undergo a kind of de-radicalization course with psychologists and repentant former jihadists in the trial. 

However while the plan may sound sensible, many had criticised it for helping jihadist networks grow.

In July a critical reportuggested this isolated prison wings option was not the best solution.

The report by France’s chief prison inspector Adeline Hazan said France’s justice system was facing a phenomenon “which it had no measure of the nature or extent of”.

Her report stressed that grouping Islamist extremist prisoners together continues to worry counter-terrorist judges because of the harmful impacts which include “allowing solidarity to build between prisoners, networks to be reconstructed and allow the more influential inmates to put pressure on the most vulnerable.”

The rehabilitation programme was brought in by Prime Minister Manuel Valls after it emerged that two of the gunmen in the January 2015 terror attacks in Paris had been radicalized in French prisons. 

Valls promised a crackdown, acknowledging that they had become a hot spot for jihadists to meet, conspire, and recruit.
“We separate these inmates from the rest,” PM Manuel Valls said in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo and Jewish store attacks.

“It must become a general measure but it must be done with discernment and intelligence," the PM added.




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