“Rehabilitation and reintegration are the next challenges for Member States to break the vicious cycle of violence”
-- UN Office of Counter-Terrorism Under-Secretary-General Vladimir Voronkov in his statement at the meeting with the EU Political and Security Committee (PSC – COPS)
Violent extremists in prisons
By increasing Member States capacity to effectively manage violent extremist prisoners (VEPs) and prevent radicalization to violence in their prison systems UNCCT contributes towards strengthening the resilience of societies against violent extremism and radicalization to violence. Our project, Supporting the Management of VEPs and the Prevention of Radicalization to Violence in Prisons, has a strong focus on a select number of countries in Asia, North Africa and the Middle East including Kazakhstan, Uganda and Tunisia.
The project foresees the initiation of prison-based disengagement programmes aimed at dissuading extremists from violence and setting the facilitation standards for their social reintegration upon release. To this end, the project will target national prison administrations, VEPs and the broader prison population, as well as civil society organisations involved in the disengagement and/or social reintegration of former violent extremists.
The project, contributing to the advancement of Pillar I of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and Output 1.1 of the UNCCT Five-Year Programme (2016-2020), falls under the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact Foreign Terrorist Fighter Capacity Building Implementation Plan. UNCCT developed the plan pursuant to Security Council Presidential Statement 2015/11, in close collaboration with Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), as well as the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee. Additionally, the project will contribute to Sustainable Development Goal 16 on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
UNCCT initiated the project together with CTED and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The implementation cost will be covered by the European Union, UNODC, the Netherlands and UNCCT.
The overall project objective is to contribute towards strengthening the resilience of societies against violent extremism and radicalization to violence while respecting human rights standards, by increasing the capacity of selected beneficiary countries to effectively manage VEPs and prevent radicalization in their national prison systems.
The project will have the following four outcomes:
- Prison staff act upon early signs of radicalization, and regularly evaluate their programme interventions, thus contributing to the improvement of dynamic security
- National rehabilitation and social reintegration strategies, as well as corresponding programme for VEPs developed, thus resulting in disengagement from violent extremism
- Social reintegration prospects of VEPs upon release strengthened through the establishment/ improvement of after-care and post-release supervision, and the involvement of the community in facilitating the reintegration of released prisoners is ensured.
To achieve these outcomes, the project has the following outputs envisaged:
- Project implementation effectively prepared in line with national needs, and project results and lessons learned widely disseminated
- Strengthened security and safety mechanisms and capacities in prisons and amongst prison staff, including through improved coordination with other relevant stakeholders
- Improved systems and skills in prison administrations to assess the risks and needs of VEPs on an individual basis and as a basis for allocation and programming
- Enhanced capacity of prison administrations to deliver inter-disciplinary disengagement interventions for VEPs, which forms part of a strategy on social reintegration
- Improved social reintegration prospects for (former) violent extremists through solid post-release services and/or the resort to alternatives to imprisonment in suitable cases.