The role of governments

Governments are the main actors and – especially in the long term – have the responsibility to lead the rehabilitation and reintegration processes at the strategic level.

  • Governments have the responsibility to ensure a proper legal framework to guide and regulate the design and implementation of reintegration and aftercare programmes, including the work and responsibilities of all stakeholders involved. Governments must ensure good governance and the protection of human rights, as well as an enabling environment to facilitate reintegration efforts, especially in the post-release period.
  • Governments should identify existing practices and processes that may be adapted to deal with violent extremist offenders as well as consider new measures.
  • The lead government agency in the reintegration programme should have a clear mandate and set objectives and the authority and resources necessary to achieve them. Its goals should be realistic and appropriate.
  • Governments are responsible for designing and disseminating the main policies as well as for ensuring the correct application of the instruments foreseen. Reintegration programmes have to be planned with a vision and be well articulated in advance, taking into consideration both short and long-term objectives, the mechanism and instruments considered, and the responsibilities and duties of single actors. All these elements have to be defined and communicated clearly to all partners and stakeholder involved, including the public at large. In the design phase, it is important to ensure the availability of enough options and instruments to successfully address and respond to the needs arising from individual assessments.
  • Programmes should be flexible enough to allow the reinforcement of their most successful features and the adjustment of those that are least effective.
  • Governments should take the lead in framing the relationship with civil society organizations. It is suggested to have formal guidelines and protocols that regulate the relationship between NGO and governments. These agreements should be formalized in order to guarantee – mainly in countries with less developed political structures - the continuation of the programme also in case of changes in the government.
  • Especially in conflict zones, before release Member States should carefully consider the issue of security for the released inmates and their families.
  • Governments should also be responsible for encouraging and promoting research. There is particular need for additional research on the causes and on the process of individual radicalization as well as on the role of prison environment in post-release violent extremism.
  • Several programmes developed around the globe depend and rely on individuals their personal commitment and involvement. Programmes must be able to survive changes in government and the departure of single personalities. Programmes should be sustainable over a period of years.
  • Governments should ensure effective monitoring and evaluation programmes that make clear what is to be measured and by whom.