The virtual study visit will take place in English, with English-French interpretation.
The rehabilitation and reintegration of violent extremist and terrorist offenders (VETOs) remains a challenge for frontline practitioners, policymakers and European societies as a whole. The prosecution of terrorist offenders following attacks on European soil and abroad in recent years (mainly performed by Islamist and violent right-wing extremists) has led to growing numbers of imprisoned VETOs.
There are currently over 1400 VETOs in prisons in just 10 European countries (1). With many sentences due to be completed in the months and years to come, a vast number of these individuals will be released back into society. The creation of a smooth and consistent transition management between prison, probation and reintegration into society – the prison-exit continuum – is especially crucial in the rehabilitation process of radicalised and terrorist offenders.
Aim of this webinar
France is one of the EU member states dealing with a large number of VETOs in custody. The terrorist inmate population has increased significantly in the country since 2014 (2). As of 2021, there were around 450 prisoners convicted of terrorist offences, 640 Islamist extremist prisoners convicted of non-terrorist offences as well as 670 Islamist extremists on bail or on parole (3). Around 60 radicalised and terrorist offenders have been released between 2019 and 2020 (4), while 64 detainees for terrorism and radicalisation will be released in 2021 (5). Consequently, the prison administration has put in place a policy to fight radicalisation.
The study visit is an opportunity for practitioners to learn from the French experience and meet practitioners involved in managing the prison-exit continuum. It will offer practical insights as to how the reintegration of VETOs into society can be jointly handled in a multi-agency setting, and will facilitate exchanges with the practitioners who are directly working with the target group. This way, the study visit will enable participants to get a comprehensive understanding of who is involved at what stage and in what role.
The study visit will aim to address the following questions:
- How is the policy of the French prison administration and the PAIRS programme organised/structured? Who does what, when?
- How is risk assessment conducted in a prison, and what criteria are used for decisions on which individuals to refer to PAIRS?
- How are case workers and other practitioners prepared for release?
- What are the practical challenges, experiences and lessons learned from case transfer between agencies and actors and from case management before, during and after release?
- How is information-sharing between different actors arranged?
- How is the balance between security and rehabilitation ensured?
- How is long-term follow-up support provided after release and after completion of the programme, especially in the field of mental health?
- What capacity gaps and needs of practitioners exist in managing the prison-exit continuum effectively?
We are currently looking for first-line practitioners engaged in work with VETOs along the prison-exit continuum. Among others, these include:
- Prison/probation staff and/or professionals involved in risk assessment
- Practitioners involved in preparation for release and probation officers
- Social workers and vocational counsellors
- Religious and cultural mediators
- Psychologists and psychiatrists
- Members of security services
- Since participation is limited for this event, we kindly ask you to fill out this questionnaire. Based on the answers we receive, we will inform you of your participation by 29 November.
(1) Rajan Basra and Peter Neumann, Prisons and Terrorism: Extremist Offender Management in 10 European Countries, International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, 2020.
(2) Rajan Basra and Peter Neumann, Prisons and Terrorism: Extremist Offender Management in 10 European Countries, International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, 2020.
(3) Numbers provided by the French Ministry of Justice.
(4) RAN Conclusion paper: Radicalised and Terrorist Reoffenders, 2021.
(5) Fatima Lahnait, Combating radicalisation in France: from experimentation to professionalisation, 2021.
- Publication date
- 26 November 2021
- Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs