Belgium to run pilot project of deradicalization in prison

Belgium will soon experiment a new European programme which aims to deradicalise those who are in jail.

The so-called ‘Césure’ programme, which has already been implemented in France, will be launched in Belgium in September.

The programme aims to have closer relationships with radicalised individuals in order to revert them. “This is an individual and systematic 9-month programme which consists in working on disengagement of radicalised prisoners”, Rachid Madrane, the Wallonia-Brussels Federation minister in charge of assistance to prisoners told la Dernière Heure last week after he has officially approved this initiative.

Césure’ will be funded both by the European Union and the University of Liège, Mr. Madrane added. However, The programme lies on prisoners volunteering, which means the prisoners are not required to be subject to it. They should be about 20 to take part of that process, before it might be extended to other prisoners.

On the other side, a dozen of specialised workers from Caprev (an Belgian organisation in charge of dealing with people who are involved in extremism or terrorism) will receive specific training to care about those types of prisoners. They will interview the prisoners and try to identify why they have turned into criminality and what they are not used to doing anymore in their daily life. The point is about finding ways to get reintegrated to the “normal life”.

It is quite hard to assess the potential positive impacts of such a programme before it is officially implemented. But as the person in charge of leading the project told RTL yesterday, “there is no miracle” when it comes to deradicalisation. Similar methods also applied in France over the last years, and they were subject to some political criticism, due to the ways they have been implemented. The effects of this initiative might then be observed and commented over the upcoming years.