According to some sources this week the UK authorities are looking at setting up a Guantanamo style site in order to house extremists; what comes under the umbrella of being classed an extremist and whether the UK will utilise torture and no trial tactics deployed by the Americans at Gitmo is not known.
All too often the UK follows the lead of the USA especially when it is damaging changes.
As UK PM David Cameron scurries around Europe trying to shore up his proposed EU UK membership reforms ahead of a meeting of leaders this week perhaps we should ask are we really a member state of the EU or just the 51st State of the USA.
Press TV reports "A review by Justice Secretary Michael Gove, due to be published in March, is examining how ‘convicted extremists’ behave in prison. According to the Telegraph, the proposal to hold extremists separately was reportedly raised in discussions as part of a review into radicalization in jails."
While the last part of that sentence above makes sense do we really want Gitmo style jails?
Those of us old enough to remember the infamous H Blocks that held accused terrorists in Northern Ireland well remember prisoner dirty protests and hunger strikes that led to death. Most of us also remember Bobby Sands the first hunger strike protester of that era to die in prison but there were others.
Bobby Sands was an Irish nationalist who led a hunger strike in prison in 1981. He was elected Member of Parliament during the strike; the following is from the Bobby Sands trust website:
Officer Commanding IRA political prisoners, H-Blocks, Long Kesh. Born 9th March 1954, died 5th May 1981 after sixty-six days on hunger strike.
UK PM David Cameron hinted this week that the government may decide to put scores of extremists in one place, separating them from other inmates.
A special secure unit at Belmarsh could be used.
Cameron confirmed this week that about "1,000 prisoners have been identified as extremists or vulnerable to extremism and that some were preying on the weak."
He went on "I am prepared to consider major changes: from the imams we allow to preach in our prisons to changing locations and methods for dealing with prisoners convicted of terrorism offences, if that is what is required."
Convicted is the important word above and it should by way of a democratic trial not a kangaroo or secret court.
Press TV also says "one prison source told The Times, "If we could identify extremists spreading the wrong messages, it would be a good idea to hold them separately to stop them having the opportunity of infecting other inmates with their views." But the suggestion of a single prison for convicted terrorists was dismissed by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) on Saturday."
Will isolation really reduce radicalisation or further it?
Getting the balance right is important and making sure those held are convicted extremists.
But in the years to come will extremism be redefined to suit?
Daily Mail 2014 "Inside the world's most notorious prison."