WHITEMOOR PRISON: MP wants Government debate after Muslim prisoner numbers double
PUBLISHED: 14:55 05 February 2009 | UPDATED: 08:51 02 June 2010
NUMBERS of Muslim prisoners inside top security Whitemoor have nearly doubled in two years, Government figures revealed today. Latest figures show the number of Muslims inside Whitemoor rose from 73 in 2006 to 140 last year and that they now account for o
NUMBERS of Muslim prisoners inside top security Whitemoor have nearly doubled in two years, Government figures revealed today.
Latest figures show the number of Muslims inside Whitemoor rose from 73 in 2006 to 140 last year and that they now account for one in three of all inmates at the Cambridgeshire jail.
It prompted a call by MP Malcolm Moss - whose NE Cambs constituency includes the prison- to demand a Commons debate into why the rural jail is being increasingly used for Muslim prisoners.
"It is placing a disproportionate and unreasonable burden on prison officers and staff at Whitemoor," said Mr Moss.
"This is easily the highest percentage of Muslim prisoners in any British jail," said Mr Moss. "Inside Whitemoor it is one of the issues prison officers and staff feel most strongly about. There are difficulties and problems with having Muslim prisoners, and I want to know why a prison in the middle of a mainly agricultural part of the country is taking such a high proportion of Muslims."
Mr Moss claimed that prison officers are not properly trained to handle such large number of Muslims and there were "nuances involved with dealing with Muslim prisoners that prison staff can fail to pick up".
He said prison officers had told him of the difficulty of dealing with Muslim gangs inside Whitemoor "and they have the habit of having their own courts and dishing out their own discipline. This is an area of disquiet and prison staff are not really sure how to handle it. If this is to be the main prison for Muslims, they better training and improved linguistic skills are needed."
Mr Moss is pressing Justice Minister Jack Straw for a full scale debate.
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