By the end of next year, France will have released hundreds of radicalized inmates who have completed their prison sentences.
Currently, there are 512 people who are imprisoned in France for terrorism-related crimes, and 1,200 prisoners who are considered to be “radicalized.”
France has been hard hit by terrorism and houses many extremists in its prisons. By the end of next year, hundreds will go free https://t.co/FmgbvlHqB1
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) July 16, 2018
During the rise of ISIS, authorities arrested thousands of French citizens and residents who supported the terrorist group.
Many of the those who were arrested are now close to completing their prison sentences and will be released to their home countries, whether it’s France or somewhere abroad.
Despite serving lengthy prison sentences, many of those who will soon be released haven’t been de-radicalized.
In response to this potential threat, French police are forming a new anti-terror unit that will be focused on monitoring the former inmates.
In addition, some of France’s inmates who were imprisoned for non-terrorist crimes have embraced radical Islam while behind bars, and many of those individuals carry sentences that are less than five years.
“We run a huge risk: seeing people leave prison at the end of their sentences who will not have reformed at all, who are potentially even more extreme as a result of their time inside,” Paris prosecutor François Molins said in May.
France has experienced a number of deadly terrorist attacks over the last three years, and many of those who were responsible for the attacks had previously served in French prisons.
France’s intelligence services have had a difficult time keeping up with the dramatic number of people wo have been radicalized online by ISIS.
Law enforcement have created a watchlist of potential radicals who have been released from prison and will be using their anti-terrorism division to review when those individuals travel and change their addresses.
Analysts believe that the government is focused on ensuring that another terrorist attack doesn’t happen on French soil.
“The stakes are much higher for government because people are focusing on this issue. Now the government is much more afraid than before,” said Farhad Khosrokhavar, a sociologist at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales and the author of a new book on jihad.
Despite the concerns of the release of ISIS-inspired radicals, the terrorist organization is rapidly losing its influence.
ISIS is continuing to be targeted by France, Britain and the U.S., and has lost most of its territory in Iraq and Syria.
The Syrian city of Raqqa was recently liberated from the Islamic State’s control, which is a huge accomplishment, as the terrorist organization used to consider it as its capitol.