On 29 March 2017 the LIASE 2 Project organised its 3rd European LIAISE2 Seminar. Entitled: The prevention of radicalisation in the context of probation and prison: Challenges and opportunities for the partnership between local authorities and judicial actors. The seminar was co-organised by the European Forum for Urban Security (Efus), Confederation of European Probation (CEP) and the City of The Hague.
Aim of the 3rd LIASE 2 seminar was to address the existing challenges and opportunities for partnerships between local authorities and judicial actors in the area of the prevention of radicalisation and reoffending. Participants from thirteen European countries came to the Hague for knowledge sharing of valuable information of challenges through an overview of different European approaches to the phenomenon of radicalisation in the context of probation and prison. A focus on the Dutch approach was given by the Dutch probation services, who presented the risk assessment tools they use as well as their existing partnership. Furthermore, one of the initiatives of the ALTERNATIVE research project, focused on restorative justice and carried out in Northern Ireland, was presented as an example of community involvement and reintegration.
The ICCT presentation also focused on a specific challenge that local authorities and judicial actors will increasingly face in the coming years : the foreign fighters who return to their country of origin from the conflict zones, commonly known as the returnees. ICCT addressed the risk they may represent for security in Europe and the challenges regarding their judicial follow-up and reintegration, but also the role they can play, once they have reintegrated society, in the prevention of radicalisation in their community, in particular among young people.
At the end of day 1 of the conference, the participants could ventilate their ideas on what role former extremist could play in the prevention of radicalization through an interactive panel discussion. Main issues were:
What could be the added value for prevention of working with former extremists? Should we collaborate with people who have abandoned violence but still have extremist views? How should prevention actors cooperate with judicial actors and intelligence services before they engage with a former extremist?
Policymakers are increasingly interested in the role of prison and probation with regards to radicalisation because they can be effective partners in prevention strategies. Indeed, these are often identified as channels through which convicted individuals can benefit from programmes and interventions aimed at strengthening their resilience against extremist influences or supporting them in the process of disengagement.
Whether focused on de-radicalisation, disengagement, rehabilitation or resettlement, such programmes require multi-agency coordination in order to maximise the chances for radicalised individuals to reintegrate society and to minimise the risk of re-offending.
The key role of cities as coordinators of all relevant stakeholders within these multi-agency programmes has been recognised in several countries. This central role has already been highlighted by the European Forum for Urban Security (Efus) in its work on the prevention of re-offending and, since 2014, on the prevention of radicalisation as part of the European projects LIAISE and LIAISE 2. However, although multi-agency cooperation around radicalised offenders, whether in release or probation, has already been highlighted as a key policy principle when designing tertiary prevention initiatives, it remains a key challenge.
Because because of the confidentiality of some presentations, only some presentations of the LIASE2 seminar are available: