Convicted extremists who promote terror and violence are to be isolated from the general prison population and placed in new "specialist units" under plans to be announced by the government on Monday.

The creation of sealed-off units – "prisons within prisons" – aims to prevent extremists from spreading their ideologies to others while behind bars and follows lengthy investigations by experts into how to stop them.

The plans form part of a government response to a review of Islamist extremism in prisons to be unveiled in full by new justice secretary, Elizabeth Truss. Appointed last month by Theresa May to succeed Michael Gove, Truss said the move was part of a wider crackdown on extremism that was urgently needed. "The rise of Islamist extremism poses an existential threat to our society," she said.

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