Preventing radicalisation in prisons (Penal Reform International, 2015)

Preventing radicalisation in prisons (Penal Reform International, 2015)

Final outcomes and recommendations for future action:

  1. An approach to preventing radicalisation that focuses on security alone is not sufficient. Any approach must be grounded in international human rights law and standards, the rule of law, democracy and justice.
  2. More research is needed to analyse and determine the magnitude and scope of radicalisation in prisons worldwide, as well as documentation and promotion of good practice models.
  3. Counter radicalisation and violent extremist programmes should be part of an overall prison reform plan that includes: ensuring that good prison management standards and practices are in place; proper filing and classification systems; improving prison conditions and services, including infrastructure and living conditions; and efficient and comprehensive rehabilitation programmes for prisoners.
  4. Prison reform should not be dealt with in isolation. A coherent and comprehensive criminal justice reform strategy that reflects the complexity of the justice system and the interconnected nature and relations between the different institutions and actors of the system should be developed. Justice reform should ensure that detainees are not held in pre-trial detention for long periods of time, and the adoption of alternatives to imprisonment as a tool for reducing prison overcrowding should be adopted.
  5. All governmental entities engaged in preventing violent extremism should cooperate closely together (including, for example, the police, judiciary, prosecution, prisons, intelligence agencies and health services).
  6. International collaboration and exchange of experiences are a necessity given that violent extremist crimes transcend borders.
  7. Prison staff must be carefully selected and trained to be able to recognise signs of radicalisation, understand and respond to the complexities of reintegration and rehabilitation measures, as well as to secure their own safety and the safety of inmates.
  8. Relevant tools must be developed to aid assessment and classification of prisoners. These should take into account the capacity and the available resources of the penitentiary system and respond to the local context and the size of the problem.
  9. Training and teaching curricula on human rights-based approaches to address the treatment of this group of prisoners must be developed for teaching in prison academies and training centres.
  10. Gender-sensitive rehabilitation and reintegration programmes should be developed that take into account the history behind women’s involvement in violent extremist acts, including personal experiences, such as if they have been subject to sexual or other abuse.
  11. Child-friendly programmes for children who might be recruited whilst in detention or who are already radicalised should be developed. These programmes must focus on rehabilitating and protecting children from exploitation. Additionally, programmes should take into account children accompanying their mothers in detention, and children who are born as a result of rape by violent extremist groups.
  12. Post-release after-care programmes should be developed to respond to the specific characteristics of this group of prisoners, with the aim of reducing the likelihood of recidivism.
  13. Civil society should work closely with regional mechanisms such as the African Union and the Arab League to help develop standards further in this area.

You can find the original publication here

TopicChildren, Women, Penitentiary Institutions, Human Rights , Law enforcement, Programmes, Plans of Action, Rehabilitation and Re-integration


Themes: Children, Women, Penitentiary Institutions, Human Rights , Law enforcement, Programmes, Plans of Action, Rehabilitation and Re-integration