"The argument being made is that some people are being taught core values in jail that are turning them into jihadists. This is outrageous," Jones said. "It's not Islam that turns them against America. If you track them back, they had some resentment already going on."
Jones said Connecticut and New York correction officials have barred "The Noble Quran," a Saudi translation of the Muslim holy book. An appendix in the book is titled "The Call to Jihad (Holy Fighting in Allah's Cause)."
But Jones argued that the threat of extremism from prison conversions has been exaggerated.
"I think this is another form of fear-mongering," he said. "The guys I know who come out of prison, they have many issues, and that's not one of them."Harry Dammer, a criminologist at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania who studies religion in prisons, said there is no clear evidence that the Islam taught or spread in U.S. prisons are the forms of Islamic militancy on display in the Bronx case. "I would say that yes, of course, there are extremists around, but they are few and far between," Dammer said, "and they are not supported by imams and chaplains in prisons."