The Kosovo Probation Service (KPS) faced the first cases of released violent extremist prisoners (VEPs) in Kosovo* in 2019 and 2020. They have realised that the post-penal treatment and support to this category of persons requires in-depth understanding of the phenomena of radicalisation and violent extremism, the factors and drives behind it, as well as the social and family context surrounding these individuals.
Arising from the need to enhance KPS capacities to carefully plan their approaches and accordingly structure their work with violent extremist offenders, the Council of Europe organised a 2-day training session for probation officers. Experienced prison professionals from Kosovo Correction Service (KCS) joined their probation colleagues at this training, sharing their knowledge on operating procedures applicable to VEPs, the screening and risk and needs assessment processes they are subjected to, internal information and intelligence exchange and experiences in allocation and rehabilitation of VEPs in Dubrava prison and the High Security Prison.
Furthermore, the trainees learned from international practices that proved to ensure sustainability of rehabilitation upon prison exit and have improved practical skills on how to build working alliance with VEPs, how to further enhance motivational interviewing techniques and establish trustful relationship with the former prisoner. All training participants, both from KPS and KCS, acknowledged the need for further joint trainings that would ensure rehabilitation continuum of this category of prisoners upon release.
This activity was implemented on 08-09 December 2022 in Prizren, 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”.
* 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.