A recent report states that there are an unprecedented number of terrorists in European prisons. What kinds of threat do they pose? What should we do with them? Borealis weighs in on this issue in this Quick Hits podcast.
For some terrorists, prison is a place for radicalisation and recruitment, in which inmates with no previous involvement in politically motivated violence can be exposed to extremist ideas – often at particularly vulnerable points in their lives. For others, it is as an ‘incubator of peaceful change and transformation’, enabling de‑radicalisation, disengagement, and – in some cases – entire peace processes.
Prisons and Terrorism: Extremist Offender Management in 10 European Countries
This report offers a wide‑ranging analysis of the role prisons can play in radicalising people – and in reforming them. Building on a 2010 study that used the same methodology, it examines the policies and approaches of ten European countries, identifying trade‑offs and dilemmas but also principles and best practices that can help governments and policymakers spot new ideas and avoid costly and counterproductive mistakes.
It paints a picture of countries trying to grapple with a challenging – and rapidly changing – situation. Over the past decade, many European countries have had to deal with a significant increase and diversification of their extremist offender populations, raising systemic questions about prison regimes, risk assessments, probation schemes, and opportunities for rehabilitation and reintegration that had previously often been dealt with on a case‑by‑case basis.
Read the ICSR report: Prisons and Terrorism: Extremist Offender Management in 10 European Countries