Rehabilitation programmes seek to reduce the appeal of violent extremism and terrorism
The Counter-Terrorism Committee members heard on 9 May 2013 presentations from senior officials of Saudi Arabia’s Mohammad bin Naif Counseling and Care Center and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI).
Major General Saeed bin Ameer Al-Beshi, Head of the General Department of the Prince Naif Counseling and Care Center, briefed the Committee on the Center’s strategy to counter violent extremism and terrorism through prevention, rehabilitation and care. “We are countering ideology with ideology and idea with idea,” Major General Al-Beshi said.
Direct dialogue and information sessions are offered as part of the Center’s prevention programme, which operates within and outside prison. Advice is also provided online to the community.
Those who participate in the rehabilitation programme are referred to the Center from prison. Saudi nationals detained in Guantánamo were sent here. The three-month-long programme involves religious, psychological, social and art therapy. The goal is to deradicalize people and help them reintegrate into society.
Care extends beyond the initial three months and benefits the family, as well. In order to prevent relapse, beneficiaries receive financial assistance, employment and marriage services, housing, medical treatment and more.
Major General Al-Beshi said the success rate is 92.5 %, with 0.5% rejecting the programme. The remaining 7% of participants did not pass, yet continued to receive one-on-one treatment.
Mr. Jonathan Lucas, Director of UNICRI, spoke about his organization’s project to disengage and rehabilitate violent extremists and terrorists, particularly in prison. Mr. Lucas said that UNICRI is assisting States in building effective programmes to this end, as well as to ensure prisons are not serving as hotbeds of radicalization. Prisons may also give inmates a chance to change for the better. Before they reintegrate into society, they could be deradicalized or at least disengage from violence.
As part of its capacity building efforts, UNICRI has organized a series of events with the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism for experts to share ideas and policies to reduce the appeal of violent extremism and terrorism. Recommendations made during these workshops included elements that are part of the Rome Memorandum on Good Practices for Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Violent Extremist Offenders, adopted by the Global Counter-terrorism Forum in June 2012.