Some 50 “homegrown violent jihadists” are to be released by 2026. One terrorism convict already out tells the Associated Press that some “loose cannons” now in prison “might go to the convenience store and cut off somebody’s head.”
Dozens of convicts in U.S. prisons for terrorism-related offenses are due to be released in the next several years, the Associated Press reports. Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S. has worked aggressively to foil attacks and has imprisoned hundreds of people who joined or helped militant groups. Less attention has been paid to what happens once those prisoners complete their sentences. Among the incarcerated are 380 linked to international terrorism and 83 tied to domestic terrorism. A Congressional Research Service report said 50 “homegrown violent jihadists” were to be released between last January and the end of 2026.
Former FBI Director James Comey said the bureau had more than 900 active investigations related to Islamic State and other extremist activity in all 50 states. Most of those convicted of terrorism-related crimes are held at federal prisons in Florence, Co., Terre Haute, In., and Marion, Il., Some are in for life, but the average sentence is 13 years. “There were people I was with in prison who you’d be happy to have as a neighbor because they were normal, reasonable people,” said Ismail Royer, who was freed last December after serving 13 years on firearms charges connected to his work helping others get to a militant training camp in Kashmir. “The guys that I’m really, really concerned about are the loose cannons,” he said. “At any time [they] might go to the convenience store and cut off somebody’s head. You just don’t know. These guys are very problematic. I don’t want them as my neighbor. You can’t sit there and talk to them and tell them that their views are mistaken.”