Hankins, Frances (2018) Practising ‘Prevent’ in Prisons: Prison Clinicians’ Perceptions of Radicalisation and the Prevent Strategy. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This qualitative study aims to start building an evidence base regarding prison healthcare staff perceptions, experiences and use of the UK Government’s counter-terrorism Prevent Duty when caring for inmates not convicted of terrorism-related offences who are deemed vulnerable to radicalisation. There is substantial debate about the role of radicalisation in UK prisons and the extent of the risk of prisoners being recruited into Islamist extremist groups. The question of how best to respond to this issue is also highly debated with the UK Government’s counter-terrorism policy – CONTEST – and particularly, the Prevent Duty arm of this, being scrutinised. The healthcare sector has been mandated to detect and report any suspicions of radicalisation and this has been regarded as highly contentious. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 12 prison clinicians from two high security prisons in England. Thematic findings pertain to: a high engagement with and acceptance of Prevent Duty use in prisons; a good staff understanding of prison radicalisation; perceptions that caring for convicted terrorists is complex and a view that operationalising Prevent in prisons is feasible. The research findings present a largely positive attitude towards the Prevent Duty with it being regarded as a 'safeguarding' measure to protect patients. Prevent Duty training was largely well received by staff and enthusiasm was shown in regards to improving the package and increasing the frequency of its delivery. Staff did present unique challenges that they are faced with when contributing towards the prevention of prison radicalisation, because of the prison environment, therefore suggesting that perhaps bespoke training should be offered to prison clinicians rather than the ‘one size fits all’ training that is currently offered to all healthcare staff.

Frances Hankins FINAL THESIS.PDF - Accepted Version
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