New research from The Australian National University (ANU) and the University of Southern Illinois in the US shows people imprisoned on terrorism offenses stand a better chance of being rehabilitated when placed in general prison populations, than when kept in isolation or in a separate location with other terrorists.
The study, which primarily looked at inmates in Philippine prisons over a 10-year period, challenges the traditional view that violent extremist offenders will spread their radical ideology amongst other prisoners.
Researchers Dr Clarke Jones and Dr Raymund Narag said the study conducted a comparison between incarcerated terrorists dispersed within the general prison populations versus those isolated and segregated.
“We found when inmates interact with other inmate cohorts, you get a change of beliefs and sometimes behaviors over time,” Dr Jones said.
“If you isolate inmates and keep them together in their cohorts, they enhance their attitudes and come out worse.”
The study also showed conditions within a prison played a strong role in a terror offender’s chance of rehabilitation.
“The results showed the harsher the environment, the greater the chance of prison radicalisation, and the less chance of rehabilitation,” he said.
“When you put someone into really bad conditions, you can’t expect positive change.”
Dr Jones said over the course of 10 years the study had been able to track the results of change to the Filipino prison system, from fairly lax conditions to tight conditions.
Dr. Narag also said that the Filipino culture such as damayan and bayanihan also play a key role in the experience of the inmates which may mitigate radicalisation.
The research has been published in a new book titled Inmate Radicalization and Recruitment in Prisons which has been published by Routledge.
The new book, Inmate Radicalisation and Recruitment in Prisons, shall have a Philippine launch on Wednesday, March 6, 2 p.m. at the University Hotel, University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.
For interested journalists, please RSVP by Monday March 4 and indicate whether you have any special dietary requirements. The authors of the book can be contacted through the following emails: Dr Clarke Jones Clarke.firstname.lastname@example.org and / or Dr. Raymund Narag email@example.com