Topic: Radicalization & Violent Extremism in Prisons
Delegate Name: Maya Juratli
Prisons are often a location of concern in the discussion of the emergence and expansion of violent extremism. It is claimed that behind bars, prisons can be breeding grounds for the radicalization of new members and the forming of networks for previously violent extremists.
The concept of radicalization within the prison system describes the process by which inmates can develop extreme views in prison. These views may then succeed into acts of violent extremism. These acts can occur after the inmate has been released from prison or through coordination with an outside network. These situations jeopardize a key objective of imprisonment, protecting society from crime.
When examining these occurrences within the prison system, research has shown that extremist beliefs may be amplified by the deprivations of individual freedoms, as in the case of incarceration. One important thing to note about the development of these ideals within prison is imprisonment’s tendency to have a “group-think” environment, where inmates’ social identity can further be spurred into radicalization. In 2017, the Un acknowledged that “prisons can serve as potential incubators for radicalization to terrorism and terrorist recruitment”.
The UN has also published procedures for the prevention of these events in prison. It was suggested that different approaches, such as faith-based intervention, cultural and creative recreation, and psychological interventions could reduce the risk of radicalization. Additionally, the UN has established basic rights and treatment for incarcerated people globally.
In much of the Arab world, it is not uncommon for radical extremist views to develop within the prison system. Prisons could often be hotspots for groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS to radicalize and recruit members.
Morocco exercises extreme caution around all terrorism measures and is hopeful that this committee can assist in its goal of eliminating the threat of violent acts of extremism within its country.
In 2017, Morocco launched a program to rehabilitate ISIS veterans who are now incarcerated. Still running today, the successful program’s graduates have shown a marked change in behavior and many are eligible for early release.
Morocco has an incarceration rate of around 0.00232%, 98% of whom are male prisoners. Although Morocco pledged to add the National Mechanism for the Prevention (of Torture) (NPM) to law in 2015, this has yet to occur. Moroccan prison systems in this day have widely reported usage of poor living conditions (lack of showers, inadequate sleeping accommodations, and overcrowdedness), and torture (especially in ‘secret detention centres’, most commonly used for terrorism offenses).
Morocco believes this committee would be best to focus on the prevention of the spread of these ideals in prison before they reach the general public. Points such as monitored communication of inmates, psychological intervention, and recreation will be looked favorably upon by the Moroccan delegation.