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Training prison staff to recognize inmate radicalisation


This article deals with the issue of training prison staff to empower them to recognize inmate radicalisation. The issue of the radicalisation of individuals has become relevant in the prison system, but there is still a lack of knowledge and lack of experience by prison staff. The education and training of prison staff in recognizing radicalisation processes are a challenge for prison management, and it needs to be faced to improve the prison staff capabilities. The Radicalisation Awareness Network, introduced in 2011, lists the main conditions necessary for quality prevention of radicalisation that leads to violent extremism. Staff training and support is on this list. This article introduces the case study of the Czech Republic, which is testing innovative educational modules and risk assessment tools, both of which support prison staff in recognizing the radicalisation of inmates.

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  1. 1.

    In 2011, there were 484 cases. In 2012, Europol reported 537 arrests and in the following year, 535 arrests (Europol 2012, 2013, 2014).

  2. 2.

    Commitment to an ideology justifying violence; perceived victim of personal/group injustice and grievances; dehumanization/demonization of identified targets of injustice; rejection of democratic pluralistic society and values; feelings of hate, frustration, persecution, alienation; hostility to national collective identity/identity conflict; lack of empathy, understanding outside one`s own group.

  3. 3.

    Seeker, consumer, developer of extremist materials; identification of a target (place, person, group) in response to perceived injustice; personal contact with violent extremists; anger and expressed intent to act violently; expressed desire to die for the cause and/or martyrdom; expressed intent to plan, prepare violent action; susceptible to influence, authority indoctrination.

  4. 4.

    Early exposure to pro-violent militant ideology; network of family and friends involved in violent action; prior criminal history of violence; tactical, paramilitary, explosives training; extremist ideological training; access to funds, resources, organizational skills.

  5. 5.

    Glorification of violent action; driven by criminal opportunism; commitment to group belonging, group ideology as motivator; driven by moral imperative, moral superiority; driven by excitement, adventure.

  6. 6.

    Re-interpretation of ideology: less rigid, absolute; rejection of violence to obtain goals; change in perception of enemy; involvement in offence-related programs; community support for non-violence; family support for non-violence.


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The article was elaborated in the framework of the grant project Radicalization of Politics in Central Europe in Times of Crises (GA17-09296S) sponsored by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic.

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Correspondence to Petra Vejvodová.

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Vejvodová, P., Kolář, O. Training prison staff to recognize inmate radicalisation. Secur J 33, 552–564 (2020).

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  • Radicalisation
  • Prevention
  • Prison staff
  • Training
  • Prison security