One Size Does Not Fit All: Exploring the Characteristics of Exit Programmes in Europe


  • Vítor Costa University of Beira Interior
  • Pedro Liberado University of Granada
  • Graça Esgalhado University of Beira Interior
  • Ana Isabel Cunha University of Beira Interior
  • Pedro das Neves Innovative Prison Systems


Exit Programs, Disengagement, Deradicalization, Interventions, Evaluations


This paper presents findings from semi-structured interviews with 17 practitioners representing 14 exit interventions in 7 European countries. Drawing from the literature, the study identified analytical dimensions that provided the semi-structured interview script’s analytical framework (e.g., programme characteristics, implementation team, type of intervention, contact approach, programmes’ duration, the use of risk and needs assessment tools, follow-up/monitoring strategies/aftercare procedures). Results suggest that the goals, role of ideology and contact approach differ considerably across exit programmes. The use of risk and needs assessment tools is inconsistent across the programmes. The programmes’ evaluation was unstructured and primarily qualitative. The study has practical implications, namely the significant effort required to train exit practitioners in risk and needs assessment tools. A multi-agency approach will help improve the follow-up and aftercare practices.


This research was partially funded by the European Union Internal Security Fund (ISF) – Police, Grant Agreement: 823690 — Integrated Exit Programme for Prison and Probation (WayOut)


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