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Prisons 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:
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;
The following results are expected during R2pris project:
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
Module II – Radicalisation in Prisons Assessment: Tools and Procedures
Module III – Radicalisation in Prisons: Programmes and Intervention Strategies
R2PRIS involves the following partners from Portugal, Belgium, Norway, Romania, Turkey and the Netherlands:
Find more about the R2Pris Project: www.r2pris.org