The „Prevention of radicalization in the prison-system” is a 13-month initiative of the Budapest Centre for Mass Atrocities Prevention in collaboration with Hungarian experts and researchers. Funded by the Internal Security Fund of the European Union, it aims at contributing to the coordination and improvement of national and international capabilities of preventing and countering radicalization. To that end, it maps the capabilities of Hungarian prisons to recognize signs of radicalization, as well as to manage and prevent processes leading to radicalization. It provides trainings for prison personnel to further improve such capabilities and conducts so-called “life-path” interviews with prisoners to facilitate their rehabilitation and reintegration. The results of the project and its policy recommendations will be summarized in a report in Hungarian and English and presented at a conference in spring, 2018.
Radicalization and extremism is increasingly prominent on the security agenda. It is of high priority for national and international stakeholders to improve relevant capabilities and coordinate efforts for preventing these negative trends.
Vulnerable social groups, in particular those with criminal records, are especially susceptible to radicalization and recruitment by extremist organizations. To prevent such negative trends, it is imperative to identify, monitor and evaluate risks on a continuous basis, engage with potentially vulnerable people in an adequate manner, facilitate the rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners into society and design exit options from extremist movements for those that have already been recruited.
Radicalization and extremism is a new security challenge in Hungary. Therefore, the preparedness of prison personnel to respond to such challenges and the precise needs in terms of capability development are yet to be adequately explored. Although for successful preventive efforts it is imperative to identify and evaluate current needs, it is also important to develop innovative capabilities that can effectively deal with new challenges and to test the utility and efficacy of relevant training activities. By doing so, improvements in preventive capabilities can be accelerated and expanded.
Objectives and methodology
The main objective of the project is to improve and develop the capabilities of Hungarian prison personnel to prevent radicalization.
To that end, local needs and challenges will be explored through focus group interviews with prison personnel, the results of which will be presented at an international conference. Based on this acquired national and international experience, trainings will be designed for prison personnel. The 2+1-day-long trainings will enable the prison personnel to strengthen their capabilities for preventing radicalization. Through “life-path” interviews prisoners will have the opportunity to tell their life stories that contribute to the rehabilitation and reintegration of a wider range of prisoners. The results of the project will be summarized in a study in English and Hungarian and presented at a conference for national and international experts.