There are several reasons that can occur and foster radicalization processes in a particular context like the prison one, which is already characterized by personal grievances, conditions of vulnerability and marginalization, and institutional constraints. Furthermore, bureaucracy of prisons and rigid organization can aggravate the vulnerabilities. On the other hand, both prison and probation systems are strong partners in deradicalization/disengagement, rehabilitation and resettlement. When it comes to young offenders, it has to be considered that they may be particularly predisposed to radicalisation as juveniles and young adults are still in the process of developing their personality and identity and have particular needs, vulnerabilities or circumstances which need to be considered carefully in relation to radicalization/violent extremism-related issues. Interventions may need to be particularly sensitive to their interest in extremism being a ‘developmental phase’, with caution not to label young adults as extremists or reinforce their extremist identity and risk assessment may need to accommodate the specific features and circumstances of young adults in understanding their past and future behaviour. The project aims to contribute to the prevention and decrease of radicalization and violent extremism in European prisons by providing data and actionable knowledge on juveniles (namely those who are still minors, but can be held responsible and therefore imprisoned, depending on the national criminal legislation) and young adults (between the age of 18 and 29) inmates considered as vulnerable/at risk groups who could be or become radicalized and by assessing the effectiveness of existing prevention/de-radicalisation/disengagement programmes and interventions involving these target groups. The project involves national and international experts from different thematic areas (legal experts, psychologists, human rights observers) providing Member States with actionable knowledge to strengthen prison managers, front-line civil, prison and probation staff capacity to understand, pick up and detect early signals of radicalization within such vulnerable/at risk target groups and apply interventions/programmes which proved to be effective in preventing and countering radicalization in prison, taking into proper account the specific rules and regulations that govern how juveniles’ and young adults’ status and needs should be considered in criminal justice settings, (for example the United Nation’s Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty and the Council of Europe’s European Rules for juvenile offenders subject to sanctions and measures), the need to balance the respect for human rights with the security goals, avoiding biases and prejudices. The emphasis on detecting early signals of radicalization in vulnerable/at risk groups and/or in vulnerable/at risk individuals implies the awareness that ‘radicalization’ is not always a synonym for terrorism and that 'not all radicals' or radical thoughts and behaviors lead to terrorist actions'. Since radicalization is a 'process' over time, spotting its ‘early signals’ is crucial in order to prevent further development of radical thoughts and behaviors. The project will also identify the strengths, resources that can be leveraged on to facilitate de-radicalization processes.
|Duration||15/10/2021 - 14/10/2023|
|Principle investigator for the project (University for Continuing Education Krems)||Mag. Mag. Manfred Zentner|
|Project members||Dkffr. Sabina Ertl Dr. Federica Zardo|