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Something is missing from the debate over prison reform: What is Canada to do about the influx of incarcerated Islamist terrorists?

Since March, 2009, seven suspected Canadian terrorists, including Momin Khawaja, Said Namouh and five members of the Toronto 18, have been prosecuted. Another half-dozen trials are ongoing.

Canadians should commend the RCMP, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, local police and various branches of the judiciary for successfully tracking, foiling and indicting these individuals. But imprisoning terrorists poses a challenge.

The associated risk is prison radicalization, wherein members of the general prison population are introduced to and convert to militant interpretations of radical Islam. Already, Crown prosecutors have revealed that one Toronto 18 member, Ali Dirie, "took an active role in recruiting other inmates to adopt extreme jihadi beliefs" while under remand.

Prisons are filled with young and often dangerous individuals with a predisposition for anti-social behaviour. Some consider themselves victims of society and may be especially susceptible to ideologies that espouse retribution.


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