The Council of Europe (CoE) started on 1 November 2018 a 24 months project entitled “Structured sentence management for violent extremist prisoners in Bosnia and Herzegovina”. The project is implemented in close cooperation with the Ministries of Justice of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Federation BiH and Republika Srpska, and their respective partners from the state and the entity law enforcement agencies, social welfare services, as well as with the civil society organisations and other relevant stakeholders. The project has an overall budget of 800,000 EUR and is financed thanks to the generous contributions of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Objectives and expected results

The overall objective of the project is to support the BiH authorities to enhance safety and security in the society through promoting rehabilitation and reintegration of violent and extremist prisoners upon their release from prison. The project aims to reduce adverse effects that radicalized prisoners might have on other prisoners, and reduce extremism and violence in prisons. Through implementation the project will also entail activities that are improving prison staff competencies to identify the signs of radicalization among prisoners and manage those who are already demonstrating signs of it. The project will support multi-agency co-operation mechanism(s) through facilitating the establishment of inter-institutional co-operation, as well as co-operation with civil society with the aim of reintegrating violent and extremist prisoners upon release.

The main expected results of the project are: 

  1.  Strategic policy document to facilitate the implementation of operational procedures in prison and the multi-agency cooperation is developed;
  2.  Prison managements are better equipped to select staffing for high security units;
  3.  Case management system (CMS) for violent and extremist prisoners is made available;
  4.  Peer review of the risk and needs assessment tool and specific treatment programmes   for violent and extremist prisoners is completed.

Background information

It is important to adopt a structured approach in dealing with violent and extremist prisoners, as the risk that they represent for the society is high. The current project represents a continuation of the project entitled “Supporting reintegration of violent and extremist prisoners in Bosnia and Herzegovina” implemented by CoE from May 2017 – March 2018, and financed by the UK Government. The former project resulted in developing a “Manual on assessment and rehabilitation of violent extremist prisoners in BiH”, including pre-release treatment programmes and risk and needs assessment for violent and extremist prisoners. A multi-disciplinary and multi-agency approach was put in place and it will continue within the framework of the current project.

More about the project can be found here.