The problem isn’t limited to radical clerics infiltrating prisons. Radical inmates proselytize and do their utmost to recruit others to their cause. Once released, they may seek to take their radicalization to the next level.
Kevin James formed the Assembly of Authentic Islam while in New Folsom State Prison in California. In 2004 James recruited fellow prisoner Levar Washington to his cause. After being released, James developed a list of possible targets including an Israeli consulate, a Jewish children’s camp in Malibu, Los Angeles International Airport and a U.S. military recruiting station in Santa Monica. The two men pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges; Washington was sentenced to 22 years in 2008, James to 16 years in 2009.
Michael Finton converted and radicalized in an Illinois state prison while serving time for aggravated assault. Finton wanted to attack a federal government building and spoke of the need to attack members of Congress. He pleaded guilty to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and was sentenced to 28 years in prison in 2011.