Key Promising Practices
Interventions should focus on facilitating disengagement from violent extremist groups, causes, and ideologies to support the goal of desistance.
Interventions should be available to address various issues associated with preventing and countering violent extremism in prisons, including preventing individuals from offending or radicalizing others to violent extremism and protecting individuals from becoming radicalized to violent extremism.
Although interventions may vary significantly in terms of their nature, methods, content, and delivery, interventions should seek to achieve five specific goals and outcomes: (1) meeting personal needs without being engaged with a violent group, cause, or ideology; (2) pursuing values and causes through legitimate, legal means; (3) addressing attitudes and perceptions of others that support and justify violent extremism; (4) expressing and managing feelings associated with involvement in violent extremism; and (5) strengthening personal identity and agency.
Interventions should be designed, developed, and implemented with consideration of local conditions, culture, legal traditions, prison population and culture, resources, and staff capabilities.
Interventions may need to be available that incorporate a variety of different approaches but that may reinforce similar messages and seek similar changes in behavior, including targeted psychological, social, theological, mentoring, educational, sporting, and cultural interventions and activities.
Interventions need to be responsive to the individual circumstances and needs of violent extremist offenders to be effective and appropriate, including the individual’s age, gender, any role in a group, level of engagement or disengagement, learning ability and style, and religious and cultural background.
Interventions should be based on established principles and research underlying approaches proven to prevent other types of offending when this is deemed appropriate, while accommodating novel features specifically relevant for violent extremist offenders and violent extremism, such as addressing an individual’s relationship with a specific violent extremist cause. Further research and key findings regarding these principles will likely emerge in due course from the current cohort of violent extremist offender.
Facilitators of interventions may require specific qualities and support to prevent issues such as self-radicalization, intimidation, manipulation, and corruption.
A respectful and trusting facilitator-offender relationship should be considered the fundamental basis on which interventions are delivered and through which personal change can take place.
Careful consideration should be given as to whether interventions should be delivered in a group or one-to-one setting and steps taken to mitigate issues associated with these approaches.
There needs to be clear and accountable management support and ownership for intervention and reintegration efforts if they are to be successful.
Monitoring and evaluation of an individual’s progress during an intervention alongside ongoing research and evaluation of intervention implementation is necessary to ensure interventions are fit for purpose and revisions for improvement can be made.