Far-Right in Prison: Is there enough Support?

Today we are seeing increasing numbers of individuals sent to Prison for Far-Right Terror-related offences and therefore it is only right to question the support in place for these Prisoners.

EXIT UK is asking whether enough support is in place to ensure that Far-Right Prisoners are given an opportunity to leave behind their past and renounce Far-Right Extremism?

It can be a daunting prospect going to Prison for the first time—no more so when the stigma of being involved with the Far-Right is attached. Often when first arriving in Prison, Far-Right individuals will be offered a place on the VP Wing (Vulnerable Prisoners) as a place of refuge against the hostility they may face. Many will refuse this offer because it only adds to a further stigma being placed upon them—that being the sharing of space with Sex Offenders and other Criminal protagonists.

The experience of the Prison sentence can be a ‘make or break’ factor in the development of the Far-Right Prisoner—they will either make the choice to turn their back on the Far-Right or continue to thrive within the Far-Right after they released. This is concerning because it is a great opportunity to talk to people about their opinions, how they got them, question their ideas and offer alternatives to what they believe.

Here the possible role in which Prison can play in changing the individual, is very important and something we need to look at as it’s a place people can think about what they want to do in the future, do they carry on being politically active or do they walk away and start again

Engaging with people in this environment we have noted that there have been instances of Far-Right individuals placed together on Prison Wings—in certain locations—and this often results in the further networking of Terrorist Offenders within the prison. This is critical to address, because in this instance we are seeing the opportunity for Terrorist Offenders to see this as beneficial and become Far-Right recruiters. Looking to create the best possible situation where individuals can be encouraged to look at where they are and how they got there, we believe higher emphasis must therefore be placed on separating Far-Right Prisoners within the Prison Estate, to ensure that any networking cannot happen.

The best and most successful cases involving individuals leaving the Far Right whilst serving a Prison experience often revolve around the level of support given and accessed by these people. Looking at this we are seeing a high number of success rates allocated to the Home Office’s ‘Healthy Identity Intervention’ Programme—which ultimately leads the individual to question the continual membership/support of Far-Right organisations through a self-analysing process. This has been shown to work significantly for the individuals who choose to cooperate because they have come to a place in their life whereby naturally, they have decided to leave.

Taking into consideration what is happening there have been some exceptional examples of Prison Officers and Staff who have gone the extra mile to facilitate and provide support to Far-Right Prisoners and aid them in their journey to leave Far-Right Extremism behind. Often by showing the Far-Right Prisoner a level of humility and understanding, a window of opportunity is opened which can allow for trust to be built upon. This can then lead to the Far-Right Extremist becoming more open to removing themselves from the Movement—often by introducing other Prisoners who are of different Racial or Religious backgrounds. This is a kind of ‘Restorative Justice’ approach which can really be significant in breaking down the preconceived and false narratives built within the minds of Far-Right Extremists.

Looking for workable answers a lot of the allocation of support comes down to funding and Prison Officer levels. If possible, we believe engagement by Prison Officers and staff during this time can be crucial and something we would encourage, as building on personal relationships people develop during this time a door can be opened and supported correctly, people can and do walk away from extremism. All they need is a little help.

Keen to support those who want help if training can be offered to Prison Officers and Staff within the estate, which provides a real overview of Far-Right Extremism—then we feel it could be hugely beneficial to the rehabilitation of Far-Right Prisoners and this is something we passionately believe in.

Focused on the future, not the paste we believe that with substantial support and the training of Prison Officers and staff—a sizeable and utterly beneficial service can be provided to create positive change. In many cases prison can be a hugely positive factor in changing the views of the individual—and we should never let this fact go. With the right support, attention and care, we can build the change that is needed and Exit is here to help every step of the way from individuals involved, to their families and staff members dedicated to helping people change their lives forever.

If you have any views on this article, need support or can help in some way, please contact us at: exitsupport@protonmail.com

One Comment Add yours

  1. Christo N says:

    An interesting problem, like so often it comes down to funding that politicians are all too ready to neglect. Keep on spreading the good word.👏


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