Security inside the prisons is also being questioned. The widespread trade in drugs and mobile phones behind bars is said to be endemic, while the Serious and Organised Crime Agency has warned that criminal gang bosses are running their empires from behind bars. Corrupt practices by a small number of prison staff raise repeated concerns about the service's ability to investigate its employees. Islamist prisoners sympathetic to al-Qaeda have been the target, and the cause, of major prison disturbances.
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