In July – August 2019, the IIJ held a workshop in Marrakech, Morocco, on Effective Prison Management of Violent Extremist and Terrorist Offenders, including Vulnerable Populations. The workshop was convened under the IIJ Prison Management Initiative – one of eight IIJ Core Initiatives – with support from the Government of the United States, and valuable in-kind contributions from the Government of Morocco.
Fifty-one prison officials, judges, prosecutors and presenters from 17 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America participated in this important workshop. Sessions addressed international good practices, tools and resources for sound prison management and reviewed prison radicalisation trends. Participants examined the unique nature of prison society, including challenges concerning the management of terrorist offenders (including vulnerable populations such as females and juveniles) and key aspects of successful prison management strategies for both pre-trial and post-conviction populations, including compliance with human rights obligations, intake classification and risk assessment, the appropriate housing of terrorist offenders, rehabilitation and re-entry strategies, and probation efforts.
During the workshop, participants engaged in facilitated discussions on national challenges and potential areas in which regional cooperation can help to combat violent extremism and prison radicalisation. Workshop sessions integrated a range of tools and resources, including: IIJ Prison Management Recommendations to Counter and Address Prison Radicalisation (available in Arabic, English and French); Council of Europe Guidelines for Prison and Probation Services Regarding Radicalisation and Violent Extremism (2016) and the accompanying CoE Handbook (2017); UNODC Handbook on Managing Violent Extremist Prisoners and the Prevention of Radicalization to Violence in Prisons (2016); GCTF's Rome Memorandum on the Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Violent Extremists Offenders; GCTF's Good Practices on Addressing the Challenge of Returning Families of Foreign Terrorist Fighters; GCTF's Neuchâtel Memorandum on Good Practices for Juvenile Justice in a Counterterrorism Context; United Nations Standard Minimum Rules on the Treatment of Prisoners (Mandela Rules); United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders (Bangkok Rules); and the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (Beijing Rules).
On the final day of the workshop, participants worked through a hypothetical exercise designed to draw together and promote practical application of the themes discussed in earlier sessions, which was then followed by a visit to a facility run by the Moroccan Prison Service. There participants were able to see first-hand accommodation, workshops, class rooms and related facilities, and the Prison Director briefed participants on his management of the facility which houses up to 2280 adult males, females and juveniles.
At the conclusion of the three-day workshop, participants shared their satisfaction with the approaches shared for effectively managing violent extremist and terrorist offenders. Many practitioners expressed eagerness to initiate changes in the policies and practices in place in their respective countries.
For more information on this workshop or the IIJ Prison Management Initiative, please contact Director, Programmatic Unit, Gail Malone.