Although radicalisation is stereotypically associated with certain groups, it can affect almost everyone. Since extremism contributes to the destruction of the social fabric, it is critical we counteract problems before they fester. But first, we must be able to diagnose them!
Preventing radicalisation has been a lively discussed topic in Poland for a long time, but the need to expand the knowledge and competencies of practitioners in this area is still significant. There is a demand for training and education about designing and evaluating preventive activities. Luckily, among other things, the results of proposed European projects come in handy. The recent meeting in Warsaw was devoted to this topic.
As is the case in prison services across the world, the Polish Prison Service is having to adapt to constant change. Not only are the behaviours and demographics of inmates shifting, but there is also significant turnover of prison personnel. Officers need more access to more training than is currently provided just to meet their everyday duties, and must also adapt to abnormal and potentially dangerous trends like radicalisation.
Every year, hundreds of confrontations in prison facilities in Europe are caused not only by primary aggression, but in response to an adverse prison environment where threat, provocation, and other negative emotions are widespread among inmates. This is a significant obstacle in the deradicalisation and resocialisation of prisoners, decreasing the general well-being of prisoners and prison officers alike, while sometimes also having a direct effect on the length of prison stays.
In recent years, initiatives dedicated to preventing and countering radicalisation towards violent extremism as well as encouraging deradicalisation have been emerging more frequently. To facilitate their development and evidence-based evaluation planning, the INDEED project developed free handbooks available in 10 languages. They will be extremely useful for the evaluation of such initiatives.
Well-designed and successfully conducted evaluation helps to enhance the effectiveness of the initiative. It allows measuring the current effects of the work and establishing a solid foundation for further activities. The INDEED consortium is currently working on the tool that will facilitate this process.