Based on the achievements from the implementation of the previous phase of the “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Türkiye”, a joint programme of the European Union and the Council of Europe, the action continues to strengthen safety and security in the Western Balkans region by improving management and rehabilitation of violent extremist prisoners (VEPs) and other marginalised and vulnerable prisoners at risk of radicalisation. It promotes and reinforces co-operation, professional networking and exchange of knowledge and best practices between prison, probation practitioners and other stakeholders active in prevention and countering radicalisation and violent extremism in the region. It further fosters multi-sectoral and inter-agency approach in addressing the phenomena of radicalisation and violent extremism and provides guidance to the Beneficiaries in tailoring their preventive and response mechanisms aligned to the needs, priorities and context specific for each Beneficiary. 
The Action focuses on three priority areas:

  • Ensuring sustainable management of VEPs, marginalised and vulnerable prisoners at risk of radicalisation, effective use of VEP specific assessment tools and rehabilitation methodologies and preparing them for release;
  • Enhancing their post-penal support after release, by assisting their full reintegration and safe return to their communities, ensuring consistency on prison-exit continuum by including all relevant stakeholders in the process (families, mentors, local community, agencies, etc.)
  • Strengthening the role of the probation services in supervising community sanctions and measures and supporting VEPs on early or conditional release.

The action is implemented in close cooperation with the Ministries of Justice and the P/CVE coordination mechanisms of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Republic of Serbia, Montenegro and North Macedonia, and includes a wide spectrum of other domestic stakeholders and civil society organizations.
The duration of the action is set at 48 months, and it is expected to be completed by 31 December 2026, with an overall budget of 1,650,000 Euros.

Project news

General Directorates of Prison and Probation Administration initiated work on programmes of preparation for release for violent extremist prisoners in Albania

20-21 November 2023 Tirana, Albania

A Working Group (WG) composed of representatives of the Albanian General Directorates of Prison and Probation Administration, prison professionals from three prison establishments (Burrel, Peqin and Fier), and representatives of the Albanian Coordination Centre for Countering Violent Extremism...

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Albanian prison staff improve their knowledge on professional conduct with mentally vulnerable prisoners

28 November 2023 Albania

The Council of Europe is helping to improve treatment of prisoners with mental health disorders and forensic patients by increasing prison staff’s professional knowledge of management of this vulnerable category of inmates. A two-day training was held in Lezha on 22-23 November 2023, bringing...

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Rehabilitation of violent extremist prisoners: practitioners from Western Balkans learn from experience of Bosnia and Herzegovina

20 November 2023 Bosnia and Herzegovina

On 14 and 15 November 2023, representatives of the ministries of justice and prison administrations of Albania, Kosovo,* Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia visited the High Security State Prison and the Municipality Jajce Centre for Social Welfare in Bosnia and Herzegovina to exchange good...

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Work on programmes for rehabilitation, reintegration and preparation of violent extremist prisoners for release started in Kosovo*

3 November 2023 Kosovo*

What are the current disengagement and deradicalization programmes for convicted terrorists in the EU, what methodologies and models of change? What are the relevant Council of Europe standards and recommendations on working with violent extremist offenders (VEOs) vis-à-vis the protection of...

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Albania: Medical and psycho-social prison staff learn to develop multi-disciplinary treatment plans for prisoners with mental health disorders

19-20 September 2023 Durres, Albania

The Council of Europe continues to assist the Albanian Prison Service in enhancing the skills of prison staff for developing Individual Treatment Plans (ITP) and consolidate the practice of initial screening and in-depth assessment of prisoners with mental health disorders. On 19-20 September...

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Rehabilitation and reintegration of violent extremist prisoners and prisoners at risk of radicalisation: Western Balkans penitentiary, social welfare and other professionals meet in Durres

22 June 2023 Durres, Albania

How to maintain the effect of good preparation for release of violent extremist prisoners (VEPs), vulnerable and marginalised prisoners at risk of radicalisation once they are set free - this was the main focus of the regional conference “Challenges to ensuring prison exit continuum of VEPs/VEOs,...

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Project beneficiaries in the Western Balkans reinforce commitment to preventing radicalisation and countering violent extremism in prisons

16 May 2023 Montenegro

Project beneficiaries in the Western Balkans reinforce commitment to preventing radicalisation and countering violent extremism in prisons The first Steering Committee meeting of the Regional Action “Enhancing co-operation in the Western Balkans in managing violent extremism in prisons and...

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The capacities of the Albanian Training Centre for prison staff further enhanced

16 May 2023 Albania

In response to the increase of the number of trainers from 2 to 12, the Council of Europe continued to assist in enhancing the capacities of the Albanian Training Centre for prison staff by holding a Training of Trainers (ToT) in Vlora from 10 to 12 May 2023 for 31 penitentiary staff with...

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Key documentation

 European Prison Rules

 Legal instruments

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 CPDL Highlights

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