The phenomenon of radicalisation in prisons has emerged as an important issue that needs to be addressed in the national penitentiary systems across Europe. The fact that prisons may be used as a breeding ground for radicalised violent extremists and that radicalised offenders scheduled for release from prison are not being appropriately rehabilitated, are of grave concern across prison systems.
A multilateral round table focusing on radicalisation in the national penitentiary system took place on 12 March 2018 in Skopje, gathering representatives of the Directorate for the Execution of Sanctions at the Ministry of Justice, prison governors and other prison staff, officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, representatives from the Ombudsman’s Office, the National Committee for Countering Violent Extremism and Counter Terrorism, the Public Prosecutor’s Office and representatives of judiciary, as well as representatives of the diplomatic corps and international organisations, in order to discuss the assessment report on radicalisation in prisons and identify best ways to tackle the issue.
The activity resulted in the identification of follow-up actions, such as the drafting and implementation of a tailored screening tool for risk assessments and interventions in prisons, the development and implementation of treatment programmes for radicalised prisoners, as well as trainings for prison staff on identifying and treatment of radicalised prisoners and violent extremists, as foreseen in the National Strategy for Countering Violent Extremism (2018-2022).
The round table was organised as part of the Action “Strengthening the protection of the rights of sentenced persons”, co-funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe within the “Horizontal Facility for Western Balkans and Turkey” and implemented by the Council of Europe.