Prison radicalization : the new extremist training grounds?
Coffin, McKinley D.
Wollman, Lauren F.
MetadataShow full item record
As a nation with the largest prison population in the world, the United States has all the ingredients for criminals, extremists, and religious radicals to collaborate in producing a new breed of homegrown terrorist. Although there are documented cases where homegrown prison converts have conducted or provided material support for terrorist operations both domestically and internationally, the phenomenon is still a relatively new concern for U.S. homeland security. This thesis uses survey and interview methodologies to assess the opinions of correctional officers and experts as to the extent of the problem, as well as identifying gaps in intelligence, training, and strategy. The results suggest that prisons are fertile recruiting grounds for disaffected inmates that may be influenced by charismatic extremists acting under the guise of religion or politics. However, the results also point to a disconnect between corrections and other homeland security disciplines that prevents the creation of a robust information sharing environment. This study's conclusions indicate that a comprehensive and effective strategy cannot be developed without first acknowledging that the problem exists, understanding the rudimentary contributing factors, and initiating discussion on a multi-faceted approach to counter the radical influence.