Wednesday, 15 December 2021

New publication \ “Prisons as spaces to prevent radicalisation?”

BICC Working Paper 5\2021 examines the challenges and needs associated with preventing radicalisation in prisons in North Rhine-Westphalia. The results are based on interviews conducted by the project team at BICC in 2021 with actors working in prevention in and outside of the justice system in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Justizvollzugsanstalt Düsseldorf. Photo: Frank Vincentz, GFDL (self made)

BICC Working Paper 5\2021Prisons as spaces to prevent radicalisation?” differentiates between three areas of prevention work: First, direct and indirect measures that prevent radicalisation processes from occurring in prisons in the first place or aim to prevent them at a very early stage (for instance religious counselling for prisoners, political education). Second, dealing with already radicalised prisoners in custody, especially the work of state-run and civil society exit programmes in prisons. Third, the importance of prevention in the work of probation officers, that is, after release from prison. Compared to other areas, programmes associated with preventing radicalisation in the justice system have so far neglected this aspect. Finally, an important finding is that the perception of problems in prisons has recently diversified. Whereas the focus was originally on Islamist movements, actors who work in prevention are increasingly also tackling right-wing extremist tendencies.

In BICC Policy Brief 5\2021Strengthening prevention work against radicalisation in NRW’s prisons. Increase capacities, expand mandates, promote civil society agencies”, which is published alongside BICC Working Paper 5\2021 BICC researchers Alina Neitzert, Maurice Döring, Tim Röing und Marc von Boemcken summarise their recommendations:

The Ministry of Justice of North Rhine-Westphalia should
\ create positions for prevention officers in all prisons of the state

\ Expand the mandate of prevention officers beyond Islamism to all forms of extremism

\ Build up Islamic religious counselling in the state’s prisons.

The state of North Rhine-Westphalia should
\consolidate proven civil society model projects to prevent radicalisation in the prison context and transfer them into standard structures.

Press release “Neue Publikation \ Haftanstalten als Orte der Radikalisierungsprävention?“ (pdf, in German)

Neitzert, A., Döring, M., Röing, T., & von Boemcken, M. (2021). Haftanstalten als Orte der Radikalisierungsprävention? Herausforderungen und Bedarfe der Präventionsarbeit in Justizvollzugsanstalten Nordrhein-Westfalens (BICC Working Paper series No. 5/2021). Bonn: BICC.

Neitzert, A., Döring, M., Röing, T., & von Boemcken, M. (2021). Präventionsarbeit gegen Radikalisierung in den Haftanstalten NRWs stärken. Kapazitäten erhöhen, Mandate erweitern, zivilgesellschaftliche Träger fördern (BICC Policy Brief series No. 5/2021). Bonn: BICC.