During the past two hundred years, jails have served as major educational centers for furthering terrorist ideas and for the recruitment of new terrorists. During the rule of the Czar of Russia, Bolshevik leaders used their jail terms as a means to further organization and development of their movement. French Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie recently warned that Islamic radicals are using France’s jails and its immigrant-heavy suburbs to hunt for new recruits. “France’s prisons are a favored recruitment pool for radical Islamists” according to the Minister. She urged the European Union to develop a common handbook on ways to deal with these efforts to use jails in order to further terrorism.
The Minister said many Islamic terrorists leave jail and head for areas in Asia such as Pakistan or Afghanistan in order to put into action what they are learning in jails. The history of all groups which are marginalized in society use jail time to become stronger, not weaker. Perhaps, it is time to rethink the meaning and purpose of jails.