The issue of violent extremist and radicalisation poses a challenge not only to the states’ security but also to fundamental values that lie at the heart of the European Union: respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights.
Radicalisation in prison and probation environments is a paramount point of concern. Firstly, people who are sentenced for terrorist acts end up in prison. A part of them will remain hardboiled and are determined to be faithful to their ideology, while others might want to quit their radical activities or want to stop being a member of a radicalized group. A third group are prisoners who are at risk of being recruited and get radicalised during imprisonment.
Prison and probation services are, therefore, primary agencies in fostering exit strategies that can help radicals disengage and de-radicalise. The supporting role of the wider community, particularly in the often-difficult transition from prison to release, is vital in this de-radicalisation process.
INTEGRA “Integrated community, probation and prison services radicalisation prevention approach” strives to improve the transition process between prison and/or probation systems and the community for those at risk of radicalisation or who have been radicalised. It attempts to achieve this outcome by promoting a holistic radicalisation prevention initiative focusing on skills development of offenders, front line staff and organisations.
- To upscale existing practices and understand their role for a holistic prevention of radicalisation and disengagement /de-radicalisation
- To develop a skills-enhancement programme for frontline staff working with inmates throughout its transition back into society, including prison and probation staff, and community organisations working closely with the prison services
- To establish a local mentorship model to support ex-radicals upon release and their families
- To ensure knowledge sharing and collaboration among the relevant authorities and organisations regarding people vulnerable to radicalisation or who have been radicalised, who are in prison and on their release. This is to ensure that radicalised people start on a coherent process during and after their prison sentence, to stop their radicalisation as early as possible.
- Increased awareness about the phenomenon of radicalisation and extremism that lead to terrorism in detention environments(national and EU levels) including the personal, structural, ideological, political and social drivers;
- Improved understanding about detecting “red flags” of violent radicalisation (warning signs and opportunities to intervene) and about the prevention and detection mechanisms currently in place in Europe through real-life case studies (e.g. tools required to assess the existing radicalisation risks);
- Better capacity to deal with detainees at risk of radicalisation or already radicalised by receiving training where they will gain new knowledge and tools useful for everyday challenges;
- Increased awareness and capacity of community service providers to deal with ex-offenders deemed vulnerable to radicalisation and/or ex-radicals along their reintegration process;
- Increased knowledge about the mentoring schemes as a tool for social support of ex-radicals or previously identified inmates vulnerable to radical messages upon release and their families;
- Improved multi-agency cooperation and planning for release, by providing prison and probation systems with the tools that allow them to analyse the existing networks, information gathering and communication processes between different agencies (prison probation – police-intelligence services – community services) – through the establishment of a multi-agency approach and cooperation guide.
Learn more about the INTEGRA project: www.integra-project.org