Terrorism and Correctional Administrations
As if correctional administrators and other connected with prisons don't have enough problems on hand, when prisoners are also terrorists, or prisoners get radicalized in prison and attempt to conduct terrorist activities, prisons have a huge problem. This paper reviews the issues surrounding terrorism and prisons.
Ann Coppola, News Reporter for Corrections.com
This interview between counterterrorism planning expert, Bill Sturgeon, and reporter Ann Coppola, took place on the 12th of November, 2007, long before the more recent terrorism issues in the news (ISIS, and "lone wolves" doing terrible violent deeds). Sturgeon flatly said, "While currently there is not a large number of terrorists in American prisons and jails, that could change quickly in corrections" (Coppola, p. 2).
Sturgeon said that throughout history prisons have been places where "disgruntled groups" such as terrorists, revolutionaries, and others have seen as "targets" for disruption and violence (Coppola, 2007). Coppola asked him specifically what he means by terrorists, and he said he was alluding to "international terrorists"; he explained the most important difference between international and domestic terrorists.
"The majority of international terrorists have a deep seated religious belief that to die for their cause will win for them heavenly rewards for all eternity";...
1). The difference when it comes to domestic terrorists is that they have not decided that death is their best path to making their points, whatever they may be, Sturgeon explained.
So, how to prison administrators deal with terrorists? Sturgeon listed the things to consider for correctional administrators: a) there are language, cultural and religious barriers to overcome; b) telephone conversations must be monitored, recorded, translated "and shared with intelligence sources and counter-terrorism agencies; c) any visitors to domestic terrorists must be thoroughly monitored, searched, and given great scrutiny (Coppola, p. 2).
When dealing with the possibility of a domestic terrorist uprising, Sturgeon says that the main thing to do is to change the daily routine, which actually goes against the grain of the prison system. Correctional facilities are generally "as punctual as Big Ben," but this is "inviting for terrorists to exploit" and hence it is smart to suddenly change the schedule and keep terrorists on their toes, wondering why schedules change.
Sturgeon also explains that the schedule of outside patrols should be altered and the number of outside patrols should be beefed up. He says changing the time that tower officers are relieved is also helpful in keeping change flowing. Doing routine searches at "odd hours" and putting "double or triple staff" on duty during visiting hours is a wise policy, he adds.
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