Disengaging and Rehabilitating High-Value Detainees: A Small-Scale Qualitative Study


  • Mandeep K. Dhami Middlesex University
  • Jane Goodman-Delahunty Charles Sturt University
  • Natalie Martschuk Charles Sturt University
  • Sang Cheung
  • Ian Belton University of Strathclyde


Deradicalization, Rehabilitation, Terrorist, Police Interviewing


In an era of international terrorism, interviews with high-value detainees may have the dual purpose of extracting useful information and of disengagement. We conducted a small-scale, qualitative study using in-depth, individual interviews with 11 experienced interviewers in the Southeast Asia region and Australia, in order to provide insights into the types of interviewing strategies employed in terrorist rehabilitation. Our findings highlight the potential efficacy of creating a physically comfortable and relaxed interview setting, and of using interview strategies that focus on rapport-building, principles of social persuasion and elements of procedural justice, along with a patient and flexible stance to questioning. We suggest that interviewers performing rehabilitation interviews with high-value detainees ought to be trained to use the social approach to interviewing.


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