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The R2Pris Project

R2PrisPrisons are often described as “breeding grounds” for radicalisation and violent extremism, since they are highly unsettling environments in which individuals are more likely than elsewhere to explore new beliefs and associations. Deprived of their existing social networks and given the conditions of their confinement, prisoners with no previous involvement in politically motivated violence are vulnerable to being radicalised and recruited into terrorism. A key driver of radicalisation prevention in prisons is the training and awareness raising of the staff. First line workers have been identified as a key group that can make an important contribution to this issue and include prison and probation staff.

Radicalisation Prevention in Prisons (R2pris) Project seeks to reduce radicalization and extremism inside prisons by enhancing the competences of frontline staff (correctional officers, educational staff and psychologists, social workers) to identify, report and interpret signals of radicalisation and respond appropriately.

Specific goals include:

  1. Create awareness on the broad picture of terrorism, the mind set and narratives used by understanding
    • why prisons are a breeding ground for radicalisation;

    • the difference between conversion, radicalisation and moving to extremist views (terminology);

    • the pathways and levels of radicalisation, role in the network;

    • recruitment tactics employed within the prison environment; and

    • indicators on how to identify vulnerable people at risk of radicalisation;

  2. Develop the tools and instruments for prison administration and line-level staff to recognize signs of radicalisation at an early stage within their specific facility;
  3. Provide common, consistent and effective instruments to help staff report their observations to the appropriate intelligence staff;
  4. Provide model procedures for intelligence staff to vet the data they receive from prison staff and to appropriately interpret it;
  5. Establish a series of training programmes and tools for all staff within a prison to respond appropriately to potential vulnerable individuals at risk of radicalisation.

Results

The following results are expected during R2pris project:

  1. An innovative methodological framework for analysing deradicalisation and prevention of radicalisation strategies within prison;
  2. A radicalisation screening tool, with respective assessment materials and guidelines for prison administration and line-level staff to recognize signs of radicalisation at an early stage within their specific facility. The tool will be adapted to the specific legal and cultural context of the countries involved in the project;
  3. A training course for all staff within a prison on how to detect and respond appropriately to potential vulnerable individuals at risk of radicalisation;
  4. An e-learning training course;
  5. A train the trainer course;
  6. Five national seminars with at least 15 national stakeholders/experts and 15 international participants each;
  7. An international seminar, with the participation of at least 30 transnational experts/stakeholders and 15 national participants;
  8. A handbook and online repository of best practices on radicalisation prevention in prisons, than can be used by trainers;
  9. Three short-term transnational staff trainings involving 18 participants each (1 team from each country).

So far, the project team developed the R2PRIS methodological framework and the battery of assessment tools, and is now piloting the training programme.

The first Output, “R2PRIS Methodological Framework” (available online at http://bit.ly/2ET2FYO) presents a state of the art analysis on violent extremism and radicalisation in the prison environment, followed by a collection of approaches and practices employed by prison services to tackle the phenomena in the four participating countries in the project: Belgium, Norway, Romania and Turkey. It also includes a methodological framework to analyse radicalisation within prisons, based on the desk research findings and on the collected approaches and practices.

The second Output, “The Radicalisation Risk Assessment in Prisons” is an assessment process that includes a battery of instruments aiming to provide a broad assessment of inmates’ vulnerabilities and risk of radicalisation.

It encompasses three assessment instruments (the Helicopter view, the front-line officer checklist and the technical assessment) aiming at supporting a self-reflection and action planning process) and or collecting data: (1) about the prison service/environment; (2) among prisoners; (3) on an individual level.

Regarding the “R2PRIS training programme”, its three different components (e-learning, classroom-based and train and trainer) are currently being piloted by the prison systems represented in the partnership. The e-learning course is structured as follows:

Module I –Radicalisation in Prisons: Awareness

  • Chapter 1: What is Radicalisation
  • Chapter 2: Pathways to Radicalisation
  • Chapter 3: Levels and Mechanisms of Radicalisation
  • Chapter 4: Radicalisation in Prisons

Module II – Radicalisation in Prisons Assessment: Tools and Procedures

  • Chapter 5: Analysing Radicalisation Risk in Prisons
  • Chapter 6: Radicalisation Risk Assessment tools: the R2PRIS Approach and tool set
  • Chapter 7: Use of Dynamic Security

Module III – Radicalisation in Prisons: Programmes and Intervention Strategies

  • Chapter 8: Intervention Principles and Strategies
  • Chapter 9: Prison Regime Choices
  • Chapter 10: Exit programmes

R2PRIS involves the following partners from Portugal, Belgium, Norway, Romania, Turkey and the Netherlands:

  • BSAFE LAB Law Enforcement, Justice and Public Safety Research and Technology Transfer Laboratory – Beira Interior University, Portugal
  • IPS_Innovative Prison Systems, Portugal
  • West University of Timisoara, Romania
  • National Prison Administration, Romania
  • General Directorate of Prisons and Detention Houses, Turkey
  • Belgian Prison Service, Belgium
  • Directorate of Norwegian Correctional Service, Norway
  • International Corrections and Prisons Association (ICPA) – European Branch (Netherlands)
  • EuroPris – European Organisation of Prison and Correctional Services (Netherlands and Belgium)

Find more about the R2Pris Project: www.r2pris.org

+ Read Developing, implementing and using risk assessment for violent extremist and terrorist offenders – The RAN Ex Post Paper