I was reading an interesting article on the BBC about right wing terrorism and the clues they give away (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42916391
) . Whilst the identification of terrorists must remain a priority for the security services, this is an immediate and ongoing task, which will only result in long-term change if we work in parallel to address the issue of radicalisation at source. At the recent YEIP conference in Modena, one of the stand out lectures was talking about the steps to radicalisation and specifically the dehumanisation of the victim as a gateway step to becoming radicalised. Once a potential terrorist has moved their mind to the point that they do not see their victims as fellow human beings, but as inferior, none human objects the process is complete and they are now a radical. Yet elsewhere in the world, terrorists and victims have been brought together to have restorative conversations about the impact the terrorist's actions have had.
Perhaps the answer is to target the pre-radicalisation phase in the development of the next generation terrorist? Perhaps by approaching young people early and giving them clear life goals and something to aim for, we avoid them becoming radicalised in the first place. Another BBC article looked at the young women kidnapped by Boko Haram and sent into crowds to blow themselves up (http://bbc.in/2BLLuaz
). One of the items that spoke to me was Falmata's answer when asked why she didn't blow herself up; she explained "I wanted to live," "Killing is not good. It's what my family has taught me and what I believe too". Such a simple idea, as a child her family taught her that killing was not good and she had a goal, in this case to live. By having a clear view that her actions would be bad and having a desire for something better Falmata had the courage and strength of conviction to walk away from terror not once but on two occasions.
The IARS led YEIP project works with young people in this pre-radicalisation phase in order to help give them a clear idea of right and wrong as well as a clear focus and goals. This is the Good Lives Matter model and it is at the very heart of the project. Clearly if we are to tackle radicalisation in the long-term, there is a social need to have more effective youth policies that can enhance young people’s social inclusion and minimize the risk of radicalization with greater ‘buy in’ from youth themselves. YEIP will construct and test an innovative policy intervention that will generate a set of actions that will help address this need at the local, national and European levels. This measure is founded upon the Good Lives Model (GLM) and positive psychology, which assumes that we are goal-influenced and all seek certain ‘goods’ in our lives, not ‘material’, but qualitative, all likely to increase or improve our psychological well-being (Ward, Mann and Gannon 2007). Through the use of multi-disciplinary tools, we will construct tools that will test and implement this measure at the local, national and EU wide level. The ultimate objective is for the project to help address the KA3 PT7 aligned with the EU Youth Strategy’s objective of preventing the factors that can lead to young people’s social exclusion and radicalisation.
Existing approaches are constructed within the Risk Need Responsivity (RNR) model for prevention. Developed in the 1980s by Andrews, Bonta and Hope (1990), RNR’s focus is on reducing and managing risk as well as on studying the process of relapse. Pathology-focused research and intervention have consequently been developed as tools for RNR based approaches to rehabilitation. According to Maruna (2006) and Gavrielides and Piers (2013; 2015), RNR is now challenged at practical, policy and financial levels. They argued that concentrating on criminogenic needs to reduce risk factors are not a sufficient condition when it comes to young people. McAdams (1994; 2006) argues that integration and relatedness for young people are crucial in encouraging desistance from violence and radicalisation. Politicians and the public also seem to agree with the extant literature. For instance, the UK Justice Secretary said that prison often turns out to be “a costly and ineffectual approach that fails to turn criminals into law-abiding citizens” (Travis 2010). Financially, the RNR has not proved viable either. In the UK, putting one young person in prison costs as much as £140,000 per year (Knuutila, 2010).
YEIP will turn the RNR approach on its head. Instead of managing young people as risks, our policy measure will focus on promoting the talents and strengths of vulnerable young people and through this help develop positive identities. The extant literature has defined these as being “the internal organisation of a coherent sense of self” (Dean 2014). The GLM operates in both a holistic and constructive manner in considering how offenders might identify and work towards a way of living that is likely to involve the goods we seek in life, as well as a positive way of living that does not involve or need crime (Scottish Prison Service 2011: 36). In this process the argument is that the model works towards a positive, growth-oriented change in life where an offender works on the development of the values, skills and resources towards life based on human goods that is a necessary counter-balance of managing risk alone (Ward, Mann and Gannon 2007: 92), i.e. risk is managed as well as seeking to develop positive life alternatives.
The YEIP Partnership has published a series of eBooks that discuss the state-of-the-art in the area of GLM and Radicalisation across Europe. (http://yeip.org/awareness-raising-material/yeip-ebooks/
) have a look and download them. They are an easy way to find out more about the science and knowledge behind our approach to support the fight against terror by attacking it at source.
More information about YEIP can be found at the YEIP website: yeip.org