As part of the second phase of the European Union and the Council of Europe co-funded cooperation framework “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey” (Horizontal Facility II), the Council of Europe implements a Regional Action on “Enhancing penitentiaries capacities in addressing radicalization in prisons in Western Balkans”. The Action is implemented in close cooperation with the Ministries of Justice and the P/CVE coordination bodies of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Republic of Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia…. The Action includes a wide spectrum of other national stakeholders and civil society organizations active in the penitentiary field and countering violent extremism and radicalisation in prisons.

The main aim of the Action is to enhance regional security by improving the inter-institutional exchange of knowledge and good practices in the region in respect of radicalization in prisons, with a view on providing penitentiary system staff with necessary standards, tools and instruments needed to respond appropriately. Another important goal is to empower in-county multi-agency coordination to counter radicalization in prison and to provide adequate post-penal support to released violent extremist offenders.

The Action will also assist the national authorities to ensure that the application of the tools and mechanisms on national level with regards to addressing radicalisation in prisons further strengthens in light of the identified good practices in the region.

The Action’s duration is set at 36 months and it is expected to be completed by 31 December 2022, with an overall budget of 2,000,000.000 Euros.

* 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.

PROJECT NEWS PROJECT NEWS

North Macedonia hosted prison practitioners from the region, discussing best way forward for reintegration of violent extremist prisoners (VEPs)

6 July 2022 North Macedonia

A study visit to North Macedonia, which took place on 05-06 July 2022, provided an excellent settings to selected prison staff from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo* to exchange practices and learn from the North Macedonian’s approaches when it comes to screening, risk assessment, management and...

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Selected prison staff in Kosovo* and Serbia trained to make structured professional judgement when assessing violent extremist prisoners

22 June 2022 Kosovo and Serbia

What behavioural indicators could indicate presence of radicalisation? What factors are relevant and carry weight of assessment of a risk level a prisoner may pose? How to translate knowledge and information gathered and determine priority individual rehabilitation and treatment needs of a...

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Albanian prison staff enhances their capacities to implement rehabilitation tools and programme for violent extremist prisoners (VEPs)

17 June 2022 Albania

A group of 15 prison and probation practitioners from Albania were trained on the new tools and treatment programme for violent extremist prisoners (VEPs) and radicalised inmates. Through presentations, case studies, role plays and discussion the future programme facilitators improved their...

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Last inter-agency forum in Pristina takes stock of achievements

13 June 2022 Pristina, Kosovo*

A total of 6 local inter-agency coordination forums on improving the management of violent extremist prisoners (VEPs) and supporting their reintegration back into the society took place in Kosovo* in the period from November 2021 to June 2022. They brought together some 140 representatives coming...

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Practitioners from the Western Balkans continue to share experiences in preventing radicalisation and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) in prisons

19 May 2022 Budva, Montenegro

A regional conference on the topic “Towards improved practices in preventing radicalisation and countering violent extremism in prisons and staff training in the Western Balkans” took place in Budva, Montenegro, on 17–18 May 2022. It provided prison, probation, P/CVE coordinators, civil society...

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Participants from the region learn from BiH experiences in preventing radicalisation in prisons and disengaging violent extremist prisoners (VEPs)

11 April 2022 Bosnia and Herzegovina

A study visit to the penitentiary system in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), which took place on 07 and 08 April 2022, gave an opportunity to the representatives of the penitentiary systems in North Macedonia and Serbia to better understand BiH approaches to VEPs rehabilitation and management and...

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Refreshers training on violent extremisms tools for Kosovo* prison and probation practitioners

9-11 March 2022 Pristina

A group of 20 prison and probation professionals from Kosovo* further improved their skills on the utilisation and application of the specific screening and risk and needs assessment tools and the treatment programme for violent extremist prisoners (VEPs) and radicalised inmates, through their...

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Cooperation of all actors in society indispensable for successful reintegration of radicalised inmates and violent extremism prisoners (VEPs)

14 December 2021

Over the last 6 months a total of 19 local inter-agency coordination forums on improving VEP’s management and supporting their reintegration back into the society took place in the Western Balkans region. They brought together some 480 representatives coming from different governmental levels,...

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Sustainable and quality training programs are vital for professional response to radicalisation and violent extremism

19 November 2021 Western Balkans

The third regional meeting dedicated to the topic of capacity building and training of prison and probation staff in the Western Balkans on addressing violent extremism and radicalisation took place in Tirana, Albania on 17-18 November 2021. The participants were welcomed by Ms Lejdi Dervishi,...

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Prison staff from Western Balkans exchanges experiences on VEPs rehabilitation

3-4 November 2021 Western Balkans

Prison staff from Montenegro and Albania profited from a 2-day study visit to Kosovo*, namely to Dubrava and the High Security Prison (HSP) of the Kosovo Corrections Services (KCS). The visit was marked with discussions among colleagues about the latest developments, challenges and solutions when...

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Western Balkans prison practitioners exchanged experiences in rehabilitation of violent extremist prisoners

15 October 2021 Western Balkans

The third regional meeting on rehabilitation of violent extremist prisoners (VEPs) and their disengagement from violence took place on 13-14 October 2021, in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The focus of this meeting was to provide a forum to prison authorities and practitioners from all...

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Equipment for occupational therapy and vocational training donated to 4 penitentiary systems in the Western Balkans

30 September 2021 Western Balkans

Penitentiary systems in Kosovo*, North Macedonia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina benefited from a donation of different equipment aimed at enhancing the provision of occupational therapy and strengthening the capacities of vocational workshops (September 2021). The main aim of the donation is...

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Council of Europe supports the piloting of VEP-specific instruments and programme in the Western Balkans region

24 September 2021 Western Balkans

The Council of Europe continues to support the piloting of VEP-specific instruments and programme in Kosovo* and Serbia. In Kosovo, 4 months after the start of the pilot phase in two detention facilities (High Security Prison and Dubrava Prison), the involved prison staff reflected on the...

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Coordination between local stakeholders on reintegration of VEPs in the Western Balkans region further strengthens

2 July 2021 Sarajevo, Skopje and Bijelo Polje

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...

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Radicalisation: a growing issue in Western Balkans

The European Union and the Council of Europe are working together to provide the tools for prison staff to best support prisoners and prevent further radicalisation in the Western Balkans. Over the last year and a half we have been investing in exchange of knowledge and good practices in the...

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Serbian prison staff trained to apply VEP-specific instruments and rehabilitation program

1 June 2021 Western Balkans

A 4-day Training of Trainers (ToT) on assessment and management of Violent Extremist Prisoners (VEPs) for a group of 10 prison staff – future trainers, coming from the Special Detention Facility in Pozarevac and the County Prison in Belgrade took place in Vrsac, in Serbia. The trainees increased...

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Online training on the implementation of the Grant Agreements

20 April 2021 Online

The Regional action “Enhancing penitentiary capacities in addressing radicalisation in prisons in the Western Balkans” provides for a grant scheme for the Beneficiaries in support to the establishment of local multi-agency coordination that will foster the reintegration of released radicalised...

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Prison and Probation Professionals in the Western Balkans trained on radicalisation prevention

9 April 2021 Western Balkans

A selected group of 145 prison and probation professionals, coming from all six Western Balkans Beneficiaries[1], are improving their knowledge on addressing radicalisation in prisons and disengaging offenders from violence by undertaking the HELP course on Radicalisation Prevention. The course...

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Corrections staff improved practical skills on application of specific tools and programme for violent extremist prisoners

1-4 March 2021 Pristina

A group of 16 prison and probation professionals from Kosovo* were trained to become facilitators of the new specific tools and treatment programme for violent extremist prisoners (VEPs) and radicalised inmates. Through presentations, case studies, role plays and discussion the future trainers...

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New website/webplatform on addressing radicalisation and violent extremism in prisons, launched

16 February 2021

Professionals, stakeholders and key actors in the field of penitentiary and probation in the Western Balkans, but also the general public with interest in the field, can now access the new website/webplatform, covering various aspects of countering violent extremism and radicalisation in prisons....

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CoE HELP course on radicalisation Prevention launched in North Macedonia and Kosovo*

03/05 February 2021

A group of 50 prison and probation professionals from both North Macedonia and Kosovo got acquainted with the Council of Europe (CoE) HELP course on Radicalisation Prevention, an online learning course, that will help them to increase their knowledge on addressing radicalisation in prisons and...

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Dynamic security as precondition for proper screening and assessment of violent extremist prisoners

1-3 December 2020

The 3rd regional session of the working group on screening, risk and needs assessment (RNA) and allocation practices when it comes to violent extremist prisoners (VEPs) and radicalised inmates in the Western Balkans, took place online in the period 1-3 December 2020. The discussion was centred...

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Rehabilitation Program and Treatment Plan for Violent Extremist Prisoners (VEPs) in Serbia finalised

24 November 2020 Belgrade

Representatives from the Serbian Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior and prison staff, were unanimous at the 4th session of the Working Group in recognising the importance of proper identification and rehabilitation of VEPs and radicalised prisoners. Supported by an intentional Council of...

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Rehabilitation Programme for Violent Extremist and Radicalised Prisoners (VEPs) in Kosovo* developed

10 November 2020

The working group (WG) on the development of rehabilitation tools and programme for VEPs in Kosovo continued its work towards the finalisation of the methodology for the Rehabilitation Programme for VEPs and its user’s guide. The session took place on 10 November 2020 as online meeting,...

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Inter-institutional cooperation of outmost importance for preparation for release and post-penal assistance of Violent Extremist Prisoners (VEPs) towards their full reintegration back into the society

4-6 November 2020

The second session under the regional Working Group (WG) on “Preparation for release and post-penal assistance of VEPs” discussed the needs and strengths of the current practices and the challenges the Beneficiaries in the Western Balkans face. During the WG meeting, which took place on 04-06...

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Experts from the Western Balkans region embark on a role as HELP tutors for the Radicalisation Prevention course

6-7 October 2020

Local consultants from all 6 Horizontal Facility (HF) Beneficiaries participated at the on-line Training of Trainers (ToT) on HELP methodology under the Radicalisation Prevention course. The ToT was initial preparation of the trainees for their role as future HELP tutors, who will adapt the...

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Individual rehabilitation and treatment program in Serbia for violent extremist prisoners evolves

1 October 2020 Belgrade, Serbia

The third session of the Working Group in Serbia was focused on the design of the methodology of an individual rehabilitation and treatment programme for violent extremist prisoners (VEP) in Serbia. The Working Group presented the current situation of rehabilitation and treatment programmes for...

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Assessment tool for Violent extremist Prisoners (VEPs) in Kosovo* developed

8 July 2020 Strasbourg/Pristina

The working group (WG) on the development of rehabilitation tools and programme for violent extremist prisoners (VEPs) in Kosovo continued its work towards the finalisation of the VEP-specific risk and needs assessment (RNA) tool and its user’s guide. The session took place on 08 July 2020 as...

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Well trained prison and probation staff are precondition to successful disengagement and reintegration of violent extremist offenders (VEOs)

6-7 July 2020

The second regional Working Group session on „Capacity building and training of prison and probation staff on addressing radicalisation and violent extremism“ discussed the needs and strengths of the current training and education curricula applied in practice in all 6 Beneficiaries in the...

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

9-10 June 2020

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...

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