A. Defining Goals and Objectives

Good Practice Number 1

In developing a rehabilitation program, it is important to first clearly define the program’s goals and objectives and identify indicators of success and failure.

In developing a successful rehabilitation program, the first questions that need to be answered are what the goals of this program, and how success can be defined and measured. Measurable objectives could be formulated that define which actors are involved in the initiative, what the desired results are, how progress is measured, and which specific outcomes are expected as a result of the intervention. In defining the goals and objectives for a rehabilitation program, countries could first conduct a comprehensive risk and threat assessment. Perhaps most important is defining from the outset whether the goal of the program is to change the views or merely the behavior of the inmates (deradicalization vs. disengagement). A rehabilitation that aims for the latter is likely to be more successful in achieving its goals, but this approach may be less effective in the long-term in reducing the appeal of violent extremist ideologies and reducing the potential for further violence and terrorism. A second question for countries to consider, as appropriate, is whether the program will focus on lower and mid-level violent extremists or those in leadership (i.e. individual or collective disengagement) or both. Focusing on the leadership may have a more significant impact in the longer term, but may be more difficult to achieve. As appropriate, States could also consider establishing a broad set of metrics to gauge success, particularly those that help determine the longer term effectiveness of the program. Recidivism has been the most commonly used statistic to judge the success of the programs. While this is clearly an important measure, there are several limitations. Not all re-offenders will be caught and prosecuted, and there are also many cases where countries lose track of the individuals who have been through these programs. As appropriate, States could consider developing a wider set of metrics which look not only at whether those individuals who have participated in the programs are caught re-offending, but also on whether they are serving as a negative influence on others to join the terrorist cause, and on the extent to which they have successfully reintegrated back into society.