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Migration and Home Affairs
Target Audience
Violent extremistsPrison / probationAuthorities
key themes association
Prison and probationRehabilitation


PI Vught

Is one of the largest prisons in the Netherlands, to which many offenders who are difficult to handle or treat in other Dutch prisons are transferred. In total Vught prison has eight different regimes:

  1. detention centre;
  2. prison (also houses offenders with life long sentences);
  3. a facility for habitual offenders;
  4. a unit for prisoners whose assessment resulted in instructions for long-stay detention under hospital orders, but who have not yet been placed in such regime (for offenders with life sentences who no longer receive treatment);
  5. intensive specialist care for unstable offenders who cannot be handled anywhere else;
  6. two units of penitentiary psychiatric centres for mentally ill offenders. All offenders/patients who are difficult to treat and sensitive in terms of media exposure are placed here;
  7. maximum security facility for offenders who could have the means and opportunities to escape, and who represent a safety risk for the public;
  8. terrorist wing (TW).

Type of Organisation: Governmental institution

Project description

Since 2006, the Netherlands has had a specific prison regime that places those who are charged with terrorist activities, convicted of terrorist (-related) activities and / or showing signs and behaviour of radicalisation in prison, in a special wing. This means that they are (physically) separated from other prisoners. The special wing is referred to as the ‘terrorist wing’ (TW).

At the time of writing, in summer 2017, the Dutch TW encompasses six different departments, located in two separate prisons. Five of these departments are located in the penitentiary institute (PI) in Vught. The main approach of the terrorist wing in Vught is to organise a healthy prison climate that promotes effective reintegration by paying attention to: safety and security, contact and relations with staff, contacts outside of prison, a sense of autonomy for the prisoner, physical well-being and a purposeful way in which to pass days.

Once a prisoner is placed on the TW, a tailormade approach is applied. Both in terms of safety and security, as well as for reintegration interventions.

For safety and security reasons, a differentiation is made between:

  • males and females;
  • type of ideology;
  • whether prisoners are leaders, followers or criminal opportunists.

In addition, a thorough assessment takes place to identify in which of the five departments the prisoner is best placed. This assessment is done by collecting all available information, psychological assessments, observations on the prisoner’s behaviour, and using the VERA 2R tool which enables a professional judgement.

The five departments that together make up the TW in Vught have different security levels and different types of prison populations, allowing for tailor-made and differentiated placements within the TW. Reintegration interventions and activities are also tailor-made, based on the above-mentioned assessment and continuous repetition of those assessments. In general all prisoners in the TW have 32 hours a week for activities outside of their cells. These activities can be:

  • outside time;
  • leisure activities such as cooking or playing games;
  • psychiatric and psychological care;
  • work (in this case either in the garden or doing laundry);
  • contact with external partner organisations (family support, life coaches, detention support);
  • educational activities (e.g. a classical Arabic course is under development).

For all prisoners in the TW, a tailor-made care plan is developed and all are periodically assessed by a psycho-medical team.


  • The director of the TW often gives presentations and shares experiences with Dutch stakeholders, as well as other authorities and prison services outside of the Netherlands.
  • The TW in Vught is developing a structured outline of its working methods.

Contact details


PI Vught
Lunettenlaan 501,
5263 NT Vught

Email | Website

Read the full practice

Terrorist Wing Vught
(167.4 KB - PDF)