As countries become better at detecting, investigating, and prosecuting terrorism suspects, including returning foreign terrorist fighters, prison services across the world are faced with a growing number of terrorism offenders in their institutions. The presence of these violent extremist offenders (VEOs) in the justice system poses new challenges to prison and probation services as well as to a range of other stakeholders and intervention providers involved in their management, rehabilitation and reintegration.

There is a clear urgency to address radicalization and recruitment to violent extremism in prisons and effectively reintegrate terrorism offenders. Yet the lack of understanding of the extent of the problem has led many governments to implement hasty solutions based on untested assumptions and anecdotal evidence. This article explores the challenges and issues regarding prison management and the process to rehabilitate and reintegrate VEOs.

This essay is part of the 2017 Global Terrorism Index (GTI). Produced by the Institute for Economics & Peace, the GTI provides a comprehensive summary of the key global trends and patterns in terrorism over the last 17 years in covering the period from the beginning of 2000 to the end of 2016. The GTI is produced by the Institute for Economics & Peace and is based on data from the Global Terrorism Database (GTD). Data for the GTD is collected and collated by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism; a Department of Homeland Security Centre of Excellence led by the University of Maryland. The GTD is considered to be the most comprehensive global dataset on terrorist activity.

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