Topic: Radicalization & Violent Extremism in Prisons
Delegate Name: Camille Gerville-Reache
Switzerland recognizes that prisons can exacerbate radicalization and violent extremism, and mismanagement of prisons can pose a threat to international security. While tackling this issue is costly, the benefits are greater. However, the complexity behind the root causes of radicalization must be acknowledged: different nations will require different solutions, and solutions must be varied.
By performing research, collaborating with international partners, and investing in several measures, Switzerland’s issue of radicalization in imprisonment is near negligible. Prisons have established internal regulations and detection protocols to limit the spread of radical ideas. Additionally, coordinated positions (rotations between floors or prisons), ongoing staff training, and access to non-violent religious leaders have all proved effective measures according to a recent study. Attention is focused on the largest demographic susceptible to radicalization– men of a low education background, who are poorly integrated into the employment market. Mental health, which is linked to radicalization, is also being addressed through access to counseling, questionnaires upon incarceration, and prison officers receiving mental health training.
Along with encouraging the implementation of these methods, Switzerland prioritizes and encourages international collaboration. Working with non-governmental organizations like Innovative Prison Systems, an EU-based research and consulting firm, have enabled Switzerland to collaborate with many other nations in this effort. Internet access in prisons and elsewhere also must be regulated. Many radicalized inmates were introduced to violent extremism through the dark web. Switzerland is eager to continue cooperation with fellow nations to mitigate radicalization and violent extremism.