practitioners and policy-makers are under immense political and public pressure to ensure public safety in light of the public reaction to terrorist attacks in Europe and elsewhere. This is particularly apposite in relation to violent extremist offenders (VEOs), a group which includes terrorists and others considered at risk of engaging in violent extremism in a prison and probation context.
Since the launch of the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) in 2012, the Prison and Probation (RAN P&P) Working Group has focused on preventing violent extremism, engagement with extremist groups and extremist behaviour during detention and probation. However, since 2012, the context of terrorism has changed dramatically for prisons and probation, with foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) now constituting the chief perceived threat to security in Europe. According to Europol, the largest proportion of arrests in the EU over the past three years is represented by Jihadist terrorism and foreign fighters, while ethno-nationalist, separatist, left-wing and anarchist terrorism threats have dwindled. Moreover, concerns over right-wing extremism are growing. This complex situation is reflected in prison and probation environments: practitioners have a responsibility to keep prisons – and the public domain – safe from terrorist activity, and must also deal with individuals at risk of radicalisation. Based on practitioners’ experiences collated in the P&P Practitioners’ Working Paper, RAN P&P has developed an approach to prison and probation interventions.