Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2155942
 


 



Homeland Security and the Inmate Population: The Risk and Reality of Islamic Radicalization in Prison


Aaron J. Rappaport


University of California Hastings College of the Law

Tinka M. Veldhuis


University of Groningen - Department of Sociology

Amos N. Guiora


University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law

October 2, 2012

SPECIAL NEEDS OFFENDERS IN CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTIONS, p. 431, Lior Gideon, ed., 2012
UC Hastings Research Paper No. 4
University of Utah College of Law Research Paper No. 30

Abstract:     
Since 9/11, commentators and policy makers have expressed alarm about an emerging threat within the prison systems of the West — a threat of terrorist attacks carried out by radicalized inmates released into society. This chapter explores what we know about the risk of Islamic radicalization in prison and the effectiveness of policies that have been implemented in response to that risk. Although the principal focus of this study is the United States, the approaches of several European nations — the U.K., France, Spain, and the Netherlands — are considered where relevant.

Our conclusion is a largely negative one: We know very little about the degree of risk posed by radicalization in the prison system. Indeed, little is known about even the most basic details of the issue, such as the number of Muslims in the prison system or their demographics. A similar conclusion can be made about the current policy response of governments to the perceived risk. Commentators have listed a range of options for responding to the threat of radicalization, including increased screening of Muslim chaplains in prison, restrictions on religious literature available to inmates, and the segregation of radicalized offenders. Although some of these changes may seem commonsensical, and all appear well-intentioned, there remains a significant lack of careful thinking about the rationales for many widely shared prescriptions.

Our ultimate conclusion is that a broad-based commitment is needed on the part of Western governments to gather evidence about the real risks of radicalization in prison and to formulate a coordinated response after that evidence has been gathered. This will require change in orientation within the United States, in particular, which has lagged behind Britain and other nations in collecting this kind of information. In light of the powerful emotions that are provoked by the fear of prison radicalization, the failure to move ahead with this kind of research effort will mean that policy will inevitably be carried along not by reason, but by the political passions inevitably at play.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 30

Keywords: Terrorism, Radicalization, Extremist, Corrections, Prison, Prisoner, Inmate, Rehabilitation, Al Qaeda

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Date posted: October 3, 2012 ; Last revised: June 4, 2013

Suggested Citation

Rappaport, Aaron J. and Veldhuis, Tinka M. and Guiora, Amos N., Homeland Security and the Inmate Population: The Risk and Reality of Islamic Radicalization in Prison (October 2, 2012). SPECIAL NEEDS OFFENDERS IN CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTIONS, p. 431, Lior Gideon, ed., 2012; UC Hastings Research Paper No. 4; University of Utah College of Law Research Paper No. 30. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2155942

Contact Information

Aaron J. Rappaport
University of California Hastings College of the Law ( email )
200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States
415-565-4697 (Phone)

Tinka M. Veldhuis
University of Groningen - Department of Sociology ( email )
P.O. Box 800
Groningen
Netherlands
HOME PAGE: http://www.rug.nl/staff/t.m.veldhuis/index
Amos N. Guiora (Contact Author)
University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )
332 S. 1400 East Front
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States
801-581-4295 (Phone)
801-581-6897 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.utah.edu/profiles/default.asp?PersonID=6581&name=Guiora,Amos..

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