In November, the Council of Europe hosted a 2 day meeting in Strasbourg to discuss the management of violent extremist offenders and radicalisation. Representatives from probation and prison services from across Europe attended the event to share their experience, practices, lessons and ideas. Workshops were held which included topics such as risk assessment, managing rehabilitation, capacity building, information sharing and security. To set the tone for the meeting, IPS's Chris Dean delivered a presentation setting the scene for the meeting, outlining the Council of Europe's Guidelines and - soon to be approved - Handbook for Prison and Probation Services regarding Radicalisation and Violent Extremism.
In July, the Global Center on Cooperative Security hosted organised the 3rd in a series of workshops for the Global Counter Terrorism Forum's Detention and Reintegration Working Group in Manila. The event was attended by over 100 correctional practitioners from across Asia and Africa. As part of IPS's work with the Global Center on Cooperative Security, Chris Dean delivered a presentation and panel discussion on risk assessment tools for violent extremism as well as facilitated case study exercises to develop knowledge and understanding of effective and appropriate risk assessment.
As part of IPS's work with the Global Center on Cooperative Security, a 3 day Countering Violent Extremism in Prisons Training (CVE-P) was successfully completed by a group of prison officials from the Indonesian Prison Service. The training is highly interactive and participant-driven in nature, built around discussion sessions, case studies, and scenario exercises. In addition to delivering brief overviews of principal themes and international good practices, the trainers used questions, exercises, evaluation tools, and observations to help participants reflect on their current approaches and to consider creative, alternative methods to enhance how these issues are addressed. The training helped officials identify how their personal practices as well as their prison's culture, procedures and policies can be enhanced to more effectively manage terrorist offenders and counter violent extremism. For further information on this project go to: http://www.globalcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/July-2015-Prison-CVE-project-description.pdf
In June IPS were invited to the United Nations in Vienna to attend and contribute to the second expert group meeting on the management of violent extremist prisoners and the prevention of radicalisation in prisons. This meeting brought together a group of experts from various member states to discuss and review the handbook being created by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime to assist prison staff in countering violent extremism and terrorism. Issues covered included the appropriate and effective assessment, intervention and management of offenders within prisons internationally. IPS delivered a presentation on the effective risk assessment of violent extremism in prisons, with a focus on the Extremism Risk Guidelines (ERG 22+). Further information about this handbook can be found at: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2016/January/unodc-tackles-radicalization-to-violence-in-prisons.html
In May, IPS were invited to Washington to contribute to a fascinating conversation on the intersection between violent extremism and gender-based violence. The day focussed on various topics including how gender-based violence is being used by extremist groups, the relationship between social media, extremism and gender-based violence and government responses to these issues. Critically, an intensive part of the day was spent sharing and integrating ideas and views on how these issues can be addressed successfully both through policy and practice. For further information see: https://www.futureswithoutviolence.org/linking-the-security-of-women/
In March IPS delivered a presentation in London about the relationship between emotional vulnerability, identification and extremist violence. This was part of a one-day academic conference titled 'Disordered Personalities and Extremism' which was as part of a series on cross-disciplinary perspectives on anti-social personality disorder. The day focussed on the relationship between psychological disturbance, mental health and extremism from a variety of perspectives. For more information please go to: http://aspd-incontext.org/disordered-personalities-and-extremism-2/
In March, IPS were invited by Protection Group International Ltd to contribute to a unique workshop focussed on supporting practitioners from the gulf states in countering violent extremism. Our contribution focussed on presentations & consultancy regarding the effective and appropriate risk assessment of violent extremism and how violent extremism can be successfully managed in correctional settings.
IPS have been contracted by the Global Center on Cooperative Security to assist them in the design, development and delivery of an innovative training package to counter violent extremism in correctional settings. The training is focussed on developing knowledge, skills and strategies to enhance how prison officials manage terrorist offenders and counter violent extremism in their prisons. Following months of preparation, the 3 day Countering Violent Extremism in Prisons Training (CVE-P) was successfully completed by a group of prison officials from the Kenyan Prison Service. The training has helped officials identify how their personal practices as well as their prison's culture, procedures and policies can be enhanced to more effectively manage terrorist offenders and counter violent extremism. Following the success of the training, it is anticipated that this package will be delivered more widely across Kenya and in other jurisdictions. For further information on this project go to: http://www.globalcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/July-2015-Prison-CVE-project-description.pdf
In January, IPS were invited to present at the European Council's working group meeting of the Council of Penological Cooperation. The presentation focussed on developments in the management of radicalisation and violent extremism in the UK. This included consideration of the broad and specifice approaches adopted and key outstanding issues. Issues discussed included how resources can be most effectively targeted; how obstacles to disengagement can best be overcome; how screening/assessment procedures can be enhanced and how interventions can be developed based on best practice principles. This presentation and associated consultancy will assist the European Council in developing practical guidelines for member states to apply for the effective management of radicalisation and violent extremism in correctional settings. IPS have been contracted as scientific experts to co-develop and co-author these guidelines in association with the working group of the Council of Penological Cooperation.
As part of our work with the Global Center on Co-operative Security, IPS were invited to contribute to a two day workshop focussing on how correctional systems (particularly those in Eastern Africa) can faciliate life skills (including psychological development), education and vocational training to help prevent violent extremist offending. IPS presented on the specific role that assessment can play in helping to deliver appropriate and effective interventions. Key points raised focussed on the importance of individual assessment (not stereotyping extremist offenders); accomodating the impact of prison culture and context on individual behaviour; understanding the variety of motives which can underlie interest or involvement in extremism (including the power of identification) and how a variety of interventions (for the specific individual, wing or prison as a whole) may be needed to provide an effective response.