[JURIST] Federal Bureau of Investigation [official website] agents have been ordered to conduct "threat assessments" of prison inmates in order to determine whether they could commit extremist violence when released, according to a letter obtained by AP. Randy D. Parsons, acting assistant chief of the FBI's Los Angeles office, wrote that the goal behind the new policy is to "assess and disrupt the recruitment and conversion of inmates to radicalized ideologies which advocate violence." In testimony [text; JURIST report] before the US Senate Committee on Intelligence in February, FBI Director Robert Mueller [official profile] said that
the FBI has been involved in a coordinated effort between law enforcement and corrections personnel to combat the recruitment and radicalization of prison inmates. Prisons continue to be fertile ground for extremists who exploit both a prisoner's conversion to Islam while still in prison, as well as their socio-economic status and placement in the community upon their release.Parsons' letter said that "investigations have identified a clear need to increase the FBI's focus and commitment in this area." This is likely to be a reference to an ongoing investigation into a suspected Southern California terror plot that is said to have originated in one of California's prisons. AP has more.