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:
- 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;
- 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;
- Provide common, consistent and effective instruments to help staff report their observations to the appropriate intelligence staff;
- Provide model procedures for intelligence staff to vet the data they receive from prison staff and to appropriately interpret it;
- 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.
- The following results are expected during R2pris project:
- An innovative methodological framework for analysing deradicalisation and prevention of radicalisation strategies within prison;
- 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;
- A training course for all staff within a prison on how to detect and respond appropriately to potential vulnerable individuals at risk of radicalisation;
- An e-learning training course;
- A train the trainer course;
- Five national seminars with at least 15 national stakeholders/experts and 15 international participants each;
- An international seminar, with the participation of at least 30 transnational experts/stakeholders and 15 national participants;
- A handbook and online repository of best practices on radicalisation prevention in prisons, than can be used by trainers;
- Three short-term transnational staff trainings involving 18 participants each (1 team from each country).
Find more about the R2Pris Project: www.r2pris.org