Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Violent Extremist Offenders

Since 2010, ICCT has been conducting projects, research and specialised technical assistance on the rehabilitation and reintegration of violent extremist offenders. This initiative focusses primarily on prisons as potential enabling environments where convicted (terrorist) offenders may network, exchange information, radicalise, recruit and even command or plan terrorist operations outside prison. Eventually, most convicted offenders will be released and the goal of ICCT’s work is to assist governments in designing and implementing effective rehabilitation and reintegration programmes for violent extremist offenders, and to minimise the spread of violent extremist ideology in prison settings.

To date, these activities have involved several high-level conferences and expert meetings, the drafting of the GCTF Rome Memorandum on Good Practices, consultations with various stakeholders, and several publications. Currently, ICCT is developing and implementing a modular training course for senior prison officials and policy makers in South East Asia and Africa, and developing a comprehensive risk assessment tool.


GCTF Rome Memorandum on Good Practices

In May 2012, members of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) convened to discuss the ICCT/UNICRI good practices document that was produced in December 2011 after a conference in The Hague. GCTF members worked to transform the document into a GCTF product (the “Rome Memorandum”), which was formally adopted at the GCTF ministerial-level plenary session in Turkey from 7-8 June 2012, a meeting co-hosted by US Secretary of State Clinton and Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoğlu. During the meeting it became clear there was widespread agreement about the need to increase the members’ collective focus on this subject, and the importance of these principles in moving efforts forward in this key area.

The good practices outlined in the Rome Memorandum are intended to inform and guide countries as they develop programmes designed to rehabilitate and disengage incarcerated violent extremists or to address more general issues relating to prison radicalisation. Endorsement of these good practices in rehabilitation and reintegration programmes for violent extremist offenders is an important milestone for the GCTF, but also a significant push for the UNICRI/ICCT international initiative, specifically in terms of support for the technical assistance component.

Development of Modular Training Course on Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Violent Extremist Offenders

During the second half of 2013, ICCT developed and piloted a modular training course in the area of rehabilitation and reintegration of violent extremist offenders in the Philippines, based around the GCTF Rome Memorandum on Good Practices. This weeklong training module aimed at further developing the knowledge and toolset of 20-25 policymakers and senior prison officials relating to the management and rehabilitation of these offenders, and to assist in dealing with the related threats of prison radicalisation and post-release recidivism. The course was delivered by select expert trainers and included a fictional case study/table top exercise to familiarise participants with the material and its practical applications.

ICCT developed and implemented this training course in the Philippines  together with in-house and external experts, including Major General (Ret.) Dr. Doug Stone (Senior Advisor, UNICRI), Prof. Dr. Arie Kruglanski (Professor of Psychology, University of Maryland) and Dr. Peter Bennett (Director, International Centre for Prison Studies). Following the pilot training and based on thorough evaluations including in-country follow up, the course is currently being further refined and packaged as a modular training programme and implemented in different environments, tailored to local contexts and needs.


During the pilot training in the Philippines as well as in the literature and international discussions on the topic, the lack of specialised intake and risk assessment tools for violent extremist offenders was identified as an important missing component. During this project, ICCT will further develop two existing risk assessment tools used for assessing violent extremist offenders in prison, namely the Violent Extremism Risk Assessment Tool 2 (VERA 2, developed by E. Pressman & J. Flockton) and the Self-report Questionnaire (SQ, developed by A. Kruglanski) into a comprehensive internationally-applicable risk assessment battery. It will include the development of user manuals, training manuals, and a training module that will be piloted in the Philippines.

To realise these deliverables, ICCT will cooperate with the original authors of the two risk assessment tools, Prof. Arie Kruglanski (University of Maryland) and Dr. Elaine Pressman (Carleton University).


From 2011 to 2013, ICCT (co-)organised and participated in a number of international conferences and expert meetings on the topic of Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Violent Extremist Offenders with the aim of strengthening cooperation between organisations and exchanging knowledge and experiences whilst developing guiding documents.

Relevant documents


For more information on this project please contact Research Fellow Ms. Liesbeth van der Heide.