There are 500 people being held under terrorism charges in French prisons and many more under surveillance.
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If there were ever a time for France to seriously tackle Islamic radicalism in its overpopulated, understaffed and underfunded prisons, it would be now. Radicals in the general prison population can quickly start influencing other inmates thereby endangering prison staff. The problem that has dogged French authorities for years is set to grow more acute as foreign fighters and whole families return to France amid the collapse of Daesh (ISIS). The truth is that making room for more returnees in French prisons, some built in the 19th century, could put new strains on the prison system – and be a tight squeeze.It is a population that prison staff have felt underequipped and insufficiently trained to handle.France got a late start – just three years ago – in its search to prevent or contain prison radicalization in its 188 prisons, even though the country has been subjected to Islamic terrorism since the 1990s.Prisons are now known as breeding grounds for radicalization, and men radicalized in prison have perpetrated multiple attacks in France.At least one of the three French attackers was radicalized in prison.
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