PREPARE – Efus to implement local pilot projects to prevent radicalisation in probation and release

Málaga, Spain, November 2018 Twenty-five representatives from local and regional authorities and civil society organisations gathered in Málaga (ES) on 29-30 November for the third coordination meeting and European seminar of the PREPARE European project, led by Efus, on the prevention of radicalisation in prison and probation. The meeting was devoted to developing and implementing innovative local approaches to prevent radicalisation in prison and probation and facilitate the monitoring and re-socialisation of released terrorist offenders.

> Project meeting and seminar in Málaga

The project consortium, composed of 9 local authorities and 5 NGOs with expertise in the fields of de-radicalisation and disengagement, met to discuss the state of planning and implementation of the local pilot projects to be carried out in all the partner cities and regions. Through the project local security practitioners are working together with experienced experts from civil society. By groups of two, they develop tailor-made local pilot projects that take into account the experiences and lessons learnt from running disengagement and deradicalisation programmes across Europe.

The meeting also included the presentation and discussion of research articles on different national approaches to preventing radicalisation in prison and probation, which were written by PREPARE’s expert panel and will be published shortly as individual project proceedings. In their research, the experts looked in particular for promising practice examples that are based on the establishment of local multi-stakeholder networks and seek to connect the judicial system with local communities, so that re-socialisation work can start before offenders are released and continue in a coherent process after they leave prison.

The city of Málaga, a partner of the PREPARE project and host of this meeting, is an important case in point. The municipal administration, led by the local department for social rights, has a well-established and developed local strategy to prevent youth delinquency and reintegrate juvenile offenders.The municipality works with a number of local initiatives and organisations from the region’s thriving civil society.

> Visit of two local schemes

As part of the seminar, the participants visited two of them: Asociación Arrabal, which runs a number of projects geared towards detainees, offering them individual mentoring and training to skill them up and enable them to re-enter the labour market and reintegrate their local community. And Proyecto Hogar, a scheme developed in the Palma Palmilla district, where the rate of unemployment is high and where  large groups of newcomers, in particular from Morocco and sub-Saharan Africa, reside. As these groups face high risk of delinquency, incarceration and radicalisation, the project deploys a unique participative methodology to foster community involvement and cohesion.

The meeting was supported by CIFAL Málaga, the UN’s International Training Centre for Authorities and Leaders. Its director, Julio Andrade, opened the working session and highlighted the importance of training local practitioners on counterterrorism and disengagement, as planned in many of the PREPARE’s local pilot projects.

> Presence in European networks and events

Given the issue of prevention in prison, probation and release is high on the European counter-terrorism agenda, the PREPARE project has generated much interest among European networks. The Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) invited Efus to their High Level Conference on Child Returnees and Released Prisoners held on 11 October in Luxembourg. Moreover, a session with three project partners (City of Rotterdam, Government of Catalonia,  and Fryshuset/Exit Sweden) was held as part of a RAN’s Policy and Practice Event held on 6 on November in Vienna (AT), where the experts discussed in particular how progress made on de-radicalisation/disengagement in prison can be maintained after release. Finally, a workshop on community involvement in disengagement work in probation and release was organised by Efus in cooperation with RAN and the German NGO Violence Prevention Network, which is a partner in PREPARE, as part of the International PVE Conference in Frankfurt (DE) on 9 November.

> Call for external evaluator

Efus is currently looking for an external evaluator for the PREPARE project. Please find the related call for applications here.