Practices related to rehabilitation of Violent Extremist Prisoners (VEPs) exchanged between prison staff from the Western Balkans region

9-10 June 2020

Location : Online

The second regional Working Group on rehabilitation and disengagement from violence of VEPs in the Western Balkans (WB) region took place via an on-line platform on 09-10 June 2020. Mr Gianluca Esposito, Head of the Action against Crime Department of the Council of Europe, welcomed the participants from the six WB Beneficiaries and emphasized the importance of adhering to highest professional and human rights standards when rehabilitating VEPs and the necessity of ensuring holistic approach in the process of disengagement from violence.

During the meeting participants presented the rehabilitation programmes under development and the ones currently in use in the WB region per the Beneficiary, alongside with the challenges prison staff face in applying these approaches in practice. As a result, positive aspects of the various rehabilitation practices were identified, which will serve to pave the way towards identifying a more unified rehabilitation and intervention framework suitable for the whole Western Balkans region.

All participants agreed that, albeit differences among interventions in use, the challenges remain the same and focus on motivating VEPs to take part in rehabilitation, building trustful communication, adjusting the interventions to best suit the individual needs of the offenders and engaging external  stakeholders in support to the disengagement process.

This activity was implemented within the scope of the Regional Action “Enhancing penitentiary capacities in addressing radicalisation in prisons in the Western Balkans” that is co-funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe within the “Horizontal Facility for Western Balkans and Turkey 2019-2022” and implemented by the Council of Europe.

This website has been produced using funds of a Joint Action between the European Union and the Council of Europe. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union or the Council of Europe.

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.