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Migration and Home Affairs
News announcement1 March 2022Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs

Call for participants: RAN PRISONS Working Group Meeting - Multi-agency cooperation in dealing with imprisoned female returnees and protecting children’s rights

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(With input from RAN Rehabilitation and RAN Families, Communities and Social Care)

Tuesday 05 April (9:00 – 12:30) and Wednesday 06 April 2022 (9.00-12.30). This meeting will take place online via Webex.

The RAN PRISONS Working Group is currently looking for participants with relevant expertise to take part in a meeting on ‘Multi-agency cooperation in dealing with imprisoned female returnees and protecting children’s rights’. It will build on the RAN Prisons WG meeting on ‘Practitioners’ questions and needs for the future, based on experiences in dealing with Foreign Terrorist Fighters and Violent Extremist or Terrorist Offenders’, held in June 2021.

Background and aim of the meeting

Practitioners feel the constant need to raise awareness regarding returned foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) and particularly female returnees in prison, and the situation of their children. The treatment of this target group in prison settings needs to be understood as a task that involves a collaborative effort of diverse professional groups that will ensure the inmates’ successful referral/transition towards appropriate rehabilitation and resocialisation support. It has been widely agreed that this process should start before release and preferably with the contribution of actors from the public sector and CSOs.

Previous RAN meetings have recognised that female returnees pose particular challenges, from knowledge gaps to multiple identities and multiple trauma, as well as their (potential) involvement in violence and abusive behaviour. As new practices for prosecuting women are emerging across the EU – including for other crimes than terrorism, such as crimes against humanity – awareness is also increasing that specific approaches are needed for women in prison management, rehabilitation and reintegration.  

Practitioners have previously stressed that imprisoned mothers’ contact with their children should be facilitated. The perspective of being reunited with their children can function as a motivation to participate in deradicalisation programmes. When children are involved, different professions of practitioners need to work together, and with improved tools, to determine the best interest of the child and carry out a longer-term supervision and trauma treatment of the child in the respective social environment, taking also into account the parent-child relationship.

However, the practices and experiences made in the context of working with women returnees,particulary mothers in prison, and safeguarding the rights of children of imprisoned parents, differ widely across the EU.

During this meeting, the focus will be on how to effectively deal with female FTFs in prison and ensure that children’s rights are protected. What are the key factors to consider? What practicalities need to be taken into account and what kind of regime is most successful to lower (the risk of ongoing) radicalisation and start rehabilitation already in prison? Real life examples and experiences will be shared and compared to formulate the needed elements and lessons.

Key questions this meeting will address include:

  • What prison programmes, needs and risk assessment tools exist to deal with radicalised female returnees in prison? How do these differ from programmes and tools developed for male returnees? More specifically, how do these tools and programmes address the role of motherhood/parenthood and the parent-child relationship? 
  • Which existing regimes and multi-agency settings work with imprisoned parents (in particular returned women) and with their children?
  • What is needed to set up effective multi-agency cooperation for the management of such cases? What are the challenges and good practices?
  • How do different treatment approaches and regime choices (separating or placing together children with their imprisoned parents, regularity and nature of contact between them) affect the inmate’s treatment and rehabilitation process in prison?
  • How do such regime choices affect the child’s best interests, needs, normalisation and reintegration process? What practices, challenges and gaps exist? What can we learn from cases of women imprisoned for other offences? 

The outcome of the meeting and its conclusions will be shared with the policymakers of the Member States and might feed into the agenda of RAN Practitioners, RAN Policy Support (Member State policymakers and researchers) and the European Commission. It is an opportunity for prison practitioners to voice their concerns and hopes for the future in a safe space protected by the Chatham House Rules. 

Practitioners we are looking for are:

The target audience of this meeting will reflect the required multi-agency cooperation of practitioners when working with women (and parents) inside prisons and with their children.  

  • Prison staff:  correctional officers, prison management, prison psychologists, probation officers, mental health and social workers;
  • ‘External’ practitioners who work inside prisons and with the children of returned parents inside and outside prison settings: social and family workers, mental health practitioners, exit workers, local administrative staff and law enforcement.

To help us find the best suited participants, please briefly answer the following questions: 

  • What is your experience in dealing with female returnees in prison?
  • What is your experience in dealing with imprisoned FTF parents and their children?
  • What are the specific challenges you face?
  • Can you share a story about a professional challenge or a successful activity?

Deadline

If you are interested in participating at this meeting, please fill out this form by 10 March.

We will invite participants based on the information provided therein. Please keep in mind that we only have a limited amount of places available for this meeting to foster exchange, so participation cannot be guaranteed.  

Please note, the meeting will be held in English (without interpretation).

If you have any further questions, please don´t hesitate to contact Alexandra KORN and Rositsa DZHEKOVA.

Sources

Details

Publication date
1 March 2022
Author
Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs