Radicalization in Correctional Systems: A Scoping Review of the Literature Evaluating the Effectiveness of Preventing and Countering Interventions
Keywords:Deradicalization, Disengagement, Prison, Evaluation, Programs
Although several prevention and countering radicalization programs in correctional institutions have been carried out in Europe and worldwide, little is known about their effectiveness. Thus, the current scoping review aimed at reporting on the state of the art of the literature assessing and evaluating such actions, identifying knowledge gaps, and examining methods used to assess their successfulness and impact. A total of eight studies that met eligibility criteria were reviewed after performing a search on Scopus, Web of Science, and PsychInfo (Ebsco) databases: Two studies evaluated a reintegration initiative based in the Netherlands; four focused on an Australian disengagement program; and two offered insights on a rehabilitation program carried out in Sri Lanka. Findings were discussed according to their evaluation methods (qualitative, mixed-methods, and quantitative) and instruments. Results highlighted that the evaluation process is still confronted with several methodological difficulties, such as a lack of agreement on how to univocally define and measure success and the identification of uniform indicators of deradicalization and disengagement. Additionally, results revealed that the effectiveness of these interventions is predominantly based on anecdotal evidence rather than on rigorous, empirical proofs. As such, it was not possible to compare these programs and determine which worked best. Suggestions for future research and practical implications for policymakers, prison governors, and practitioners are offered in the concluding section of this work.
The present study was made possible by funding from SERENY (“Strengthening approaches for the prevention of youth radicalisation in prison and probation settings”), a project co-funded by the Justice Program of the European Union, GA no. 101007425. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the authors and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Commission.
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