News archive 2010
'Combating radicalisation in prisons' report28 Jun 2010, PR 146/10
The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR), King’s College London, has published a policy report entitled ‘Prisons and Terrorism Radicalisation and De-radicalisation in 15 Countries’ today (28 June). It is the first comprehensive analysis of the role prisons can play in radicalizing people and in reforming them.
The report, which will be launched in New York later this week, sets out principles and best practices that can help governments and policy makers discover new ideas, and avoid costly mistakes.
The report has contributions from more than a dozen leading experts, who looked at 15 countries including Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, the UK and the US. In many cases their insights were based on years, if not decades, of study and research, with additional interviews conducted specifically for this new report.
Dr Peter R. Neumann, Director of the ICSR and author of the report, comments, ‘Many governments are too defensive and negative when it comes to radicalisation in prisons. Their efforts rarely go beyond locking people away. Radicalisation in prisons happens because of conditions inherent in the prison environment. In reality, prisons can present opportunities for combating radicalisation and terrorism, and these opportunities need to be understood and acted upon.’
‘None of the so-called de-radicalisation programmes in the Middle East and South Asia (which are examined in detail in the report) is perfect, but their positive and outward-looking approach should serve as an inspiration for policymakers and prison authorities all over the world.’
‘The UK is making more efforts than most other Western countries to be level-headed and sophisticated about the problem – in that sense, the recent comments by Dame Anne Owers, Chief Inspector of Prisons, about Muslim prison inmates in a report could be deemed as unfair because they were lacking an international comparison and perspective.'
The report has identified the key drivers and principles of individual disengagement and de-radicalisation programmes, which may help policymakers understand the phenomenon and identify elements of best practice.
- A mix of different kinds of prison programming, typically combining ideological and/or religious re-education with vocational training.
- Credible interlocutors, who can relate to prisoners’ personal and psychological needs.
- Emphasis on prisoners’ transition back into mainstream society, typically by providing them with the means for a new beginning and by establishing social networks away from extremism.
Sophisticated methods for locking prisoners into multiple commitments and obligations towards family, community, and the state.
- Material inducements, which – while useful – do not seem to be decisive on their own.
The report was produced in partnership with the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START).
Notes to editors
The author of ‘Prisons and Terrorism Radicalisation and De-radicalisation in 15 Countries’ is Dr Peter R. Neumann, Director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, and Senior Lecturer in the Department of War Studies, King’s College London.
The full report is available: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/content/1/c6/02/15/12/ICSRPrisonsandTerrorismReport2010.pdf
Its empirical basis are 15 country reports that were written by the following experts: Omar Ashour (Algeria and Egypt); Laila Bokhari (Pakistan); Chris Boucek (Saudi-Arabia and Yemen); Professor Andrew Coyle, King’s College London (United Kingdom); Boaz Ganor and Ophir Falk (Israel); Rohan Gunaratna (Singapore); Bob de Graaff and Eelco Kessels (Netherlands); Arie Kruglanski and Michelle Gelfand (Philippines); Jean-Luc Marret (France); Sidney Jones (Indonesia); Marisa Porges (Afghanistan); Manuel Torres (Spain); and Bert Useem (United States).
The project was supported by: The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia; The National Coordinator for Counterterrorism, The Netherlands; and The Office for Security and Counterterrorism, Home Office, United Kingdom.
International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation & Political Violence The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR) is the first global centre for knowledge and leadership addressing the issues of radicalisation and political violence. It will produce world-class research and organise regular high-level meetings and outcome-driven dialogues on security issues.
This is the first initiative in this area in which Arab and Israeli academic institutions are openly collaborating. ICSR is the product of a unique partnership which brings together King's College London, the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, the University of Pennsylvania and the Regional Centre on Conflict Prevention, Amman.
ICSR is based at the Department of War Studies at King's College London. The Director of the Centre is Dr Peter R Neumann of King's College London.
The ICSR website contains detailed information about the aims and objectives of the Centre and current research projects: http://icsr.info/
King's College London
King's College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (Times Higher Education 2009) and the fourth oldest in England. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King's has nearly 23,000 students (of whom more than 8,600 are graduate students) from nearly 140 countries, and some 5,500 employees. King's is in the second phase of a £1 billion redevelopment programme which is transforming its estate.
King's has an outstanding reputation for providing world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise for British universities, 23 departments were ranked in the top quartile of British universities; over half of our academic staff work in departments that are in the top 10 per cent in the UK in their field and can thus be classed as world leading. The College is in the top seven UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of nearly £450 million.
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