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Migration and Home Affairs

Call for participants RAN PRISONS Working Group Meeting

Practitioners’ questions and needs for the future, based on experiences in dealing with Foreign Terrorist Fighters and Violent Extremist or Terrorist Offenders
(with input from RAN Police, RAN Rehabilitation and RAN Families, Communities and Social Care)

Wednesday 23 June and Thursday 24 June 2021 (9.00-12.30). This digital meeting will take place via WebEx.

For a meeting of the RAN PRISONS Working Group we are currently looking for suitable participants. The topic of this multi-meeting will be ‘Practitioners’ Questions and Needs for the Future, based onexperiences in dealing with Foreign Terrorist Fighters and Violent Extremist or Terrorist offenders’.

Background and aim of the meeting

In the context of returning foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs, both female and male) and in light of growing numbers of violent and extremist offenders (VETOs) in general, the question of how to deal with this specific target group in prison has come to the forefront of P/CVE discussions. While previous RAN Meetings and publications, such as the RAN Rehabilitation Manual and the RAN Returnee Manual, have already touched upon the specific challenges when it comes to dealing with FTFs, the situation is evolving constantly and posing new challenges for practitioners to work with the target group.

Moreover, the notion of prisons as ‘breeding grounds’ of radicalisation has contributed to a focus of P/CVE in prisons in the past years. This puts a lot of pressure on those working in the prison context. Therefore, the RAN PRISONS WG meeting will use the opportunity to take stock and to focus on practitioners working in prison.

What do practitioners need to be able to successfully deal with Foreign Terrorist Fighters vis-à-vis other Violent Extremist and Terrorist Offenders in the prison context?

Together, we want to take an honest look at experiences in dealing with FTFs as well as other radicalising, extremist or terrorist offenders. What are the differences when dealing with FTFs compared to other target groups? Are there differences in stakeholders and actors that need to be involved in the rehabilitation and reintegration process of FTFs? During the RAN PRISONS WG Meeting, practitioners will explore together the specific challenges and needs connected to working with the target group.

What kind of support and training do practitioners require to confidently work with these specific target groups? What are their biggest challenges in their work? What would they like to see in the future to be able to react to changes in the extremist landscape?

The outcome of the meeting and its conclusions will be shared with the policymakers of the Member States and might also feed into the agenda of RAN Practitioners and 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 protected safe space.

The practitioners we are looking for are:

The target audience of this meeting will reflect the required multi-agency cooperation of practitioners inside prison walls – all those who contribute to the P/CVE in dealing with radicalising, extremist and terrorist offenders, especially withForeign Terrorist Fighters.

  • Prison staff: correctional officers, prison management, prison psychologists, probation, representatives of unions of prison staff.
  • ‘External’ practitioners, who work inside prisons: religious chaplains and counsellors, social and family workers, educators, intervention and deradicalisation workers.

In order to find the best suited participants, we would like to ask you to answer the following questions:

  • What is your experience in dealing with ReturningForeign Terrorist Fighters in prison? Have you experienced any differences in dealing with this target group compared to other VETOs?
  • What do you and your colleagues need for the future, in order to do a better job?
  • Can you share a personal anecdote about professional challenges or a moment of success when working with the target group?


If you wish to participating at this meeting, please elaborate on these questions by 15 June and send them to Julia Handle and Steven Lenos?

We will invite participants based on this information. Please keep in mind that we only have a limited number of spaces available for this meeting to foster exchanges, so participation is not guaranteed.

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

If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact Julia HANDLE and Steven LENOS.