The European Union and the Council of Europe continue to assist the authorities throughout the Western Balkans region in strengthening multi-agency co-operation in preventing radicalisation in prisons and assisting rehabilitation and reintegration of violent extremist prisoners (VEPs) back into the society.
The local coordination forums, organised by the action’s grantees, bring together prison teams working with radicalised inmates and VEPs and local agencies and organisations providing support to this category of prisoners upon release. The participants concluded that this complex task should never be single obligation of the penitentiary services, highlighting the need for continuous involvement of various local institutions and information sharing in timely manner. They discussed their future responsibilities and actions to ensure pre-release plans and reintegration approaches are tailor-made to address individual’s specific risks and needs.
Three such forums took place over the past week:
- 30 June 2021 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, with focus on the new State prison located in Sarajevo;
- 02 July 2021 in Skopje, North Macedonia, with focus on Idrizovo and Skopje prisons; and
- 02 July 2021 in Bijelo Polje, Montenegro, with focus on Bijelo Polje prison
These activities were organised under the auspices of the grant agreements signed under the Regional Action „Enhancing penitentiary capacities in addressing radicalisation in prisons in the Western Balkans“, that is part of the joint European Union/Council of Europe programme Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey 2019 – 2022.