The context of terrorism has changed dramatically for prisons and probation. ‘Foreign terrorist fighters’ now account for the highest proportion of arrests and convictions in Europe. The number of arrests has tripled over the last three years, putting increased strain on prisons and probation as offenders.
Since the launch of the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) in 2012, the Working Group on Prison and Probation (RAN P&P) has focused on preventing violent extremism, engagement with extremist groups and extremist behaviour during detention and probation.
The working group published a new paper based on practitioners’ input and up-to- date research on the subject, although research in this area remains limited due to the relatively small size of the population concerned.
This paper aims to provide policy-makers, prison governors and prison and probation staff with information on current practice and issues relevant to managing Violent Extremist Offenders (VEOs) and individuals considered at risk of engaging in violent extremism in a prison and probation context. The paper is structured around these two contexts. While in practice this distinction may not exist in some EU Member States, it serves to identify key issues: prison conditions and reintegration strategies, risk assessment, prison regime choices, rehabilitation and reintegration initiatives, and staff training.