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RAN Prison & Probation (P&P)

RAN Prison & Probation is the working group on programs meant to prevent radicalisation in prison and during probation.

Key challenge

In prison and probation programs radicalisation and deradicalisation meet. Sentenced radicals can either be determined to be faithful to their ideology, consider quitting their radical activities or want to withdraw from a radicalised group. Also, there is the risk of other prisoners being recruited and radicalised during their stay in prison, given particular conditions of such confinement.


The aim of RAN P&P is to gather practitioners working within prison or probation programs to exchange experience and interesting practices between the various existing programs, specifically on:

  • Preventing people from getting radicalised during their stay in prison;
  • Preventing society from harmful situations after radicalised prisoners are released and free of probation;
  • Providing more knowledge among practitioners about recognizing radicalisation signs and about prevention / deradicalisation programs within prisons and probation.


  • Establish an effective network of practitioners from all member states with one representative from the prisons and one from the probation organizations;
  • Exchange of (interesting) practices and experiences within the EU;
  • Exploring promising practices and experiences outside the EU;
  • Identifying where legislation is favourable to work on deradicalisation in prisons and during probation programs.

Working Group updates

  • RAN Prison and Probation taking stock of lessons learned
    RAN P&P is working towards a Working Group paper in which the knowledge, insights, lessons learned and recommendations up until now will be presented. On the 29th of April, a small group of RAN P&P participants came together in Amsterdam to discuss the objective, target group and main content of the paper. From the perspective of the individuals’ steps through the judicial system , topics included will cover: identification  of extremism, risk and responsivity assessment, training, risk management, deradicalisation and disengagement interventions, prerequisites  for a healthy prison and probation environment, and reintegration into society.

  • RAN P&P organised meeting on prison(ers) society
    The plenary meeting of RAN P&P, on prison(ers) society took place in Rome on 11 and 12 December 2014. The meeting focused on ‘internal’ influences (prisoners’ society, prison order, staff relations) and ‘external’ influences (probation officers, imams, independent experts) on the radicalisation process of individuals in the system. The objective of the meeting was to get more insight into the influences that individuals in prison have to deal with, and how these factors play a fuelling or preventive role in radicalisation processes. Key-note speakers were Mark Hamm, Alison Liebling, Sarah Lewis and Fernando Reinares. Special attention was also given to the challenges regarding foreign fighters in the prison system. As people returning from Syria will be imprisoned in many Member States, this rises dilemmas such as the extent to which they should be isolated from other prisoners, whether de-radicalisation programmes will be accepted by this group, and how to prepare them for their release. After an introduction on Foreign Fighters by Magnus Ranstorp, working group leader of RAN INT/EXT, the participants discussed the current situation in their prison and probation system.

Older updates

  • RAN Prison and Probation explores internal and external influences.
    On 16 September RAN P&P held a meeting in Oslo to discuss the upcoming plenary meeting on 11 and 12 December in Rome. The RAN P&P plenary meeting will focus on the ‘internal’ influences (prisoners society, prison order, staff relations) and ‘external’ influences (probation officers, imams, independent experts) on the radicalisation process of individuals in the system. In this regard, attention will also be paid to the challenge of foreign fighters coming into prisons. One of the speakers will be Alison Liebling, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Cambridge.
  • On 23 and 24 April, RAN P&P had a meeting in Bucharest with a focus on training prison and probation staff. Competences to respond to radicalised prisoners is a big challenge. Therefore the training of staff is an important recommendation in preventing and countering radicalisation in the prison and probation setting. Apart from several presentations of training approaches of different Member States, a large part of the meeting consisted of break out sessions in which participants worked together to get a clearer understanding of the need, prerequisites, content, form and target group of training. The aim of the meeting was to work towards practical and concrete recommendations about training in a prison and probation setting.
  • On 11-12 December 2013 in Berlin RAN P&P held the third plenary meeting on the subject of interventions for deradicalisation in prison and probation settings. 50 participants attended the meeting, representing almost all EU countries. The two key-note speakers, Peter Neumann and Tore Bjørgo, focused on the more theoretical side of deradicalisation in prison and probation settings. They introduced their research into the key elements of good deradicalisation work, the profiles of extremists and different ways to create disillusionment about their ideological cause when compared to reality. Participants could choose to go to four of eight available workshops in which theory was translated into concrete practices. These practices were: Back on Track, EXIT Sweden, Unity Initiative, Denkzeit, Violence Prevention Network, EXIT Germany, Deradicalisation experiences from the Arab world and Miteinander.
  • RAN P&P had a meeting with 8 core members on 8 October 2013 in Copenhagen to discuss and prepare the programme of their plenary meeting in December.
  • RAN P&P held a meeting on 12-13 June 2013 in Madrid with some 40 participants. The main subject of the meeting was how to recognise signs of radicalisation and how to deal with radicalised prisoners and people in probation programs. Discussion focused on how to assess risks and translate these assessments into fitting interventions in prison and probation contexts. In an interactive exercise, participants experienced the challenges of making a good risk assessment with limited information and the importance of information sharing with other community organisations and authorities involved. Fergus McNeill introduced ‘desistance theory’ which focuses on the process of individuals who stop offending and voluntarily choose a different way of living that is free of criminality.
  • On 2 April 2013 in London, some 10 members of RAN P&P met to prepare a meeting for their colleagues from nearly all Member States on risk assessment, which will take place on 12-13 June in Madrid. Evaluating radicalisation in prison and probation is necessary to assess risks on both a group and individual level.
  • RAN P&P had its first meeting on 19-20 November 2012 in Vienna. Over 60 practitioners from both prison and probation services of nearly all Member States attended. It was seen as a large advantage that the working group concerns not prisons alone, but covers probation too. Both prisons and probation should not focus on the short term protection of society by detaining violent extremists alone, but also on long term security by re-socialisation of these specific offenders. Derad workers in prisons and probation, both statutory and NGOs, should pay attention to more aspects than ideology and religion alone. Individual approaches are essential. All agreed that better staff training on these issues is needed.
  • RAN P&P policy recommendations   [128 KB] for the High Level Conference on January 29th 2013


Working Group leaders:

  • Yola Wanders (The Netherlands)
  • Finn Grav (Norway)


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