A toolkit for local authorities
Current Affairs Committee
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“Deradicalisation – Back on track” (BOT) was designed to target the growing number of inmates in Danish prisons that are sentenced for terrorism offenses and pose a threat of fuelling in-prison radicalisation and recruitment. BOT is the second EU-financed project by the Danish Ministry of Social Affairs and Integration in cooperation with the Department of the Prison and Probation Service. As was the case with the first pro-ject, the 2009 „Deradicalisation - Targeted Intervention“ (DTI) pilot, BOT is designed as a personal mentoring scheme and follows the Danish tradition of local inter-agency co-operation between schools, police, munici-palities and social services. Hence, the DTI cooperated on a local level with the Danish Security and Intelli-gence Service, East Jutland Police and the Municipalities of Copenhagen and Aarhus.
BOT’s main activity is the training and coaching of mentors who then work with their clients – inmates who have committed offenses out of extremist or terrorist motivation. However, BOT defines extremism in a broad sense, including all sorts of – rightwing, left, religious or other – violent extremism and most importantly explicitly referring to hate crime (based on perceived ethnicity, political/ religious persuasion, or sexual orientation). Moreover, following a preventive social work perspective, BOT also addresses prisoners who are not sentenced for extremist offenses but are deemed vulnerable to radicalisation.
The mentors and mentor coaches come from a wide array of professional back grounds, such as social workers, prison staff and police, as well as lawyers or football stadium guards. They have primarily been recruited from the existing mentor pool of the Danish Prison and Probation Service and are genuinely motivated “relational workers” in the sense of youth well-fare services.
In methodological terms, BOT strengthens their mentees skills in dialogue techniques, coping strategies for every-day life, and conflict management. The tailor-made mentorships are designed to accommodate the client’s personal situation, assets, risks and social background.
A particularly promising aspect of BOT may be how it is based in cross-sectorial cooperation and integrates family and community networks into the mentorship.
Plans for the future include the objective to further mainstream the BOT approach and to continue engaging in international practice exchange.