Inmates are converting to Islam in order to gain perks and the protection of powerful Muslim gangs, the Chief Inspector of Prisons warns today.
Dame Anne Owers says that some convicted criminals are taking up the religion in jail to receive benefits only available to practising Muslims.
The number of Muslim prisoners has risen dramatically since the mid-1990s — from 2,513 in 1994, or 5 per cent of the population, to 9,795 in 2008, or 11 per cent. Staff at top-security prisons and youth jails have raised concerns about the intimidation of non-Muslims and possible forced conversions.
Dame Anne's report, Muslim Prisoners' Experiences, published today, says that, although several high-profile terrorists have been jailed recently, fewer than 1 in 100 Muslim inmates have been convicted of terrorism.