Britain’s Justice Secretary, Jack Straw, revealed Muslims are nearly four times more likely to be imprisoned compared with the rest of the population. Using 2006 data from the Offender Management Caseload Statistics, Straw revealed there were 8,243 self declared Muslim inmates. The number represents 11% of all prisoners in contrast to Muslims being just 3% of the country’s population. However, only 6% of the total prison population are British Muslims. Among the foreign nationals, the highest number was 416 from Pakistan, followed by 322 from Somalia, 259 from Iraq, 221 from Turkey, 185 from Nigeria, 179 each from Bangladesh and Nigeria and 163 from Jamaica. The largest group of prisoners was of those with no religious affiliation, who accounted for 33% of the prison population. The other main groups were Anglicans (30 %) and Roman Catholics (17%).
Contributing factors in the high proportion of Muslim prisoners include race discrimination in the criminal justice system; for example, certain groups are more likely to be stopped and searched and therefore criminalised, Islamophobia in the criminal justice system and conversion to Islam inside prison.