The French have also recently isolated extremist prisoners from the main prison population to stop them from radicalizing other criminals.
Although radicalization was going on by Muslim prisoners for decades, facilitated by radical Muslim chaplains serving the prisoners, the recent scandal around convicted hate preacher and mosque imam Anjem Choudary has brought the magnitude of the phenomenon into sharper focus.
Choudary was spewing forth his radical pro-terrorist beliefs and recruiting numerous youths for terrorist operations for decades, but only in the past month was convicted of swearing allegiance to Islamic State and was sentenced to a decade behind bars. Worried prison officials claim that this will give him the opportunity to convert large numbers of criminals to the terror group.
The new isolated units will be built inside up to eight of the UK's highest security jails and each is likely to hold under 50 inmates. There are currently around 130 convicted Islamist terrorists in UK jails and many more are thought to have been influenced by preaching inside jails.
Ministers say measures will be put in place to prevent the inmates' ability to plot together bigger networks within the UK.
Ian Acheson, a former prison governor, warned that there was a “significant fear among prison staff” about confronting Islamist ideology