WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
April 13 2024
WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
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Terrorists to face longer sentences for offences in prison, says Dominic Raab

Terrorists to face longer sentences for offences in prison, says Dominic Raab

Photo by Andy Aitchison, www.prisonimage.org
Photo by Andy Aitchison, www.prisonimage.org

Terrorists behind bars will face the prospect of longer sentences for offences committed in prison, says Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab. He stated, “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.”

Currently, terrorists who re-offend in prison are faced with the potential of a maximum of 42 days added to their sentence. The most common charges include vandalism or dealing with contraband. The new changes will see prison offences committed by terrorists handed over to the police for separate investigation and potential prosecution. The change has been sanctioned in an agreement between HM Prison and Probation Service, Counter-Terror Policing and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Regarding the changes, Director of Legal Services, Crown Prosecution Service, Gregor McGill, explained, “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.”

The changes were recommended as part of an independent review regarding terrorism in prisons undertaken by Jonathan Hall KC. The study, which only focussed on Islamist groups in prison, highlighted cases of ex-inmates who carried out terrorist attacks upon their release from prison, such as Usman Khan, the Fishmonger Hall Attacker. Khan was jailed from 2010 to 2018 on terrorism charges and labelled as a top tier high-risk offender. Sudesh Amman, the Streatham Attacker, was labelled as “one of the most dangerous individuals that we have investigated,” by the Counter Terrorism Command.

Human rights groups express concern that these changes could disproportionately impact minority groups. There is also the risk that extended prison time may serve to increase the risk of radicalisation and fail in its aim of protecting the public.  The proposal also comes at a time when the Government faces criticism for the proposed National Security Bill, which includes plans to restrict legal aid for prisoners charged with terrorism offences. The Joint Committee on Human Rights foresees that the draft legislation may also undermine equal access to justice.