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NAVAL
POSTGRADUATE
SCHOOL
MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA

THESIS
ESTABLISHING A
DERADICALIZATION/DISENGAGEMENT MODEL FOR
AMERICA’S CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES:
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR COUNTERING PRISON
RADICALIZATION
by
Tony C. Parker
March 2013
Thesis Advisor:
Second Reader:

Nadav Morag
Patrick Miller

Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited

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3. REPORT TYPE AND DATES COVERED
Master’s Thesis
4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE
5. FUNDING NUMBERS
ESTABLISHING A DERADICALIZATION/DISENGAGEMENT MODEL FOR
AMERICA’S CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES: RECOMMENDATIONS FOR
COUNTERING PRISON RADICALIZATION
6. AUTHOR(S) Tony C. Parker
7. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION NAME(S) AND ADDRESS(ES)
8. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION
Naval Postgraduate School
REPORT NUMBER
Monterey, CA 93943–5000
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11. SUPPLEMENTARY NOTES The views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy
or position of the Department of Defense or the U.S. government. IRB Protocol number ____N/A____.
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13. ABSTRACT (maximum 200 words)

12b. DISTRIBUTION CODE
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Prison radicalization has been identified as a potentially significant threat to America’s homeland security. When
considering the inmate population currently housed within the Federal Bureau of Prisons with a terrorism nexus and
the fact that 95 percent of our inmate population will return to our communities, the need for a proactive posture to
prison radicalization becomes evident. Currently, the United States has no prison deradicalization program.
This thesis provides a comparative analysis of two deradicalization/disengagement programs currently utilized in
Singapore and Saudi Arabia. The analysis identifies externally valid data that provides the basis for recommendations
for United States correctional policymakers in building a framework for a United States prison deradicalization model.
This thesis also examines the current literature, relevant to prison radicalization and the prison environment that may
promote prison radicalization. Through an analysis of these environmental elements, specific recommendations are
made that attempt to counter the contributing factors, within the prison environment, that make the prison setting a
fertile ground for radicalization.

14. SUBJECT TERMS prison, radicalization, deradicalization, disengagement, correctional, prisoner,
extremism, corrections, incarcerated, counter terrorism, Tennessee Department of Correction

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Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited

ESTABLISHING A DERADICALIZATION/DISENGAGEMENT MODEL FOR
AMERICA’S CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES: RECOMMENDATIONS FOR
COUNTERING PRISON RADICALIZATION

Tony C. Parker
Assistant Commissioner of Prisons, Tennessee Department of Correction
BS, University of Tennessee, 1995

Submitted in partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the degree of

MASTER OF ARTS IN SECURITY STUDIES
(HOMELAND SECURITY AND DEFENSE)

from the

NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL
March 2013

Author:

Tony C. Parker

Approved by:

Nadav Morag
Thesis Advisor

Patrick Miller
Second Reader

Harold A. Trinkunas
Chair, Department of National Security Affairs
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ABSTRACT
Prison radicalization has been identified as a potentially significant threat to America’s
homeland security. When considering the inmate population currently housed within the
Federal Bureau of Prisons with a terrorism nexus and the fact that 95 percent of our
inmate population will return to our communities, the need for a proactive posture to
prison radicalization becomes evident. Currently, the United States has no prison
deradicalization program.
This thesis provides a comparative analysis of two deradicalization/
disengagement programs currently utilized in Singapore and Saudi Arabia. The analysis
identifies externally valid data that provides the basis for recommendations for United
States correctional policymakers in building a framework for a United States prison
deradicalization model. This thesis also examines the current literature, relevant to prison
radicalization and the prison environment that may promote prison radicalization.
Through an analysis of these environmental elements, specific recommendations are
made that attempt to counter the contributing factors, within the prison environment, that
make the prison setting a fertile ground for radicalization.
.

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vi

TABLE OF CONTENTS
I.

INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1
A.
RESEARCH QUESTIONS .............................................................................4
1.
Primary Research Question ................................................................4
2.
Secondary Research Questions ...........................................................4
B.
METHODOLOGY ..........................................................................................4
C.
RESEARCH LIMITATIONS .........................................................................6
D.
LITERATURE REVIEW ...............................................................................6
1.
Prison Radicalization: Contributing Factors ....................................7
2.
Prison Radicalization: Counter-Radicalization Strategies ............10
3.
De-radicalization Policies: Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and
United States .......................................................................................11
E.
CONCLUSION ..............................................................................................14

II.

AN ANALYSIS OF THE CORRECTIONAL ENVIRONMENT ........................15
A.
GROUPS AND SECURITY THREAT GROUP INFLUENCES .............16
B.
INADEQUATE VETTING OF PRISON CHAPLAINS/RELIGIOUS
VOLUNTEERS ..............................................................................................18
C.
LOSS OF LIBERTY AND FAMILY CONTACT ......................................21
D.
ABSENCE OF SOCIAL RESEARCH AND INTELLIGENCE
SHARING .......................................................................................................22
E.
EXISTING U.S STRATEGY FOR HOUSING/PROGRAMMING
INCARCERATED TERRORIST IN U.S. PRISONS ................................24
F.
DERADICALIZATION OR DISENGAGEMENT: WHAT’S THE
DIFFERENCE?..............................................................................................27

III.

COMPARATIVE
ANALYSIS
OF
SINGAPORE’S
PRISON
DERADICALIZATION MODEL ............................................................................29
A.
RATIONALE
FOR
COMPARATIVE
ANALYSIS
OF
SINGAPORE’S DERADICALIZATION MODEL ...................................29
B.
SINGAPORE’S GOVERNMENTAL STRUCTURE ................................29
C.
SINGAPORE’S DEFINITION OF TERRORIST AND ACTS OF
TERRORISM .................................................................................................30
D.
SINGAPORE’S REALIZATION OF THE NEED FOR A PRISON
DERADICALIZATION MODEL ................................................................31
E.
SINGAPORE’S RELIGIOUS REHABILITATION GROUP (RRG)
STRUCTURE .................................................................................................33
1.
RRG’s Counseling Program .............................................................33
2.
RRG Enhancing Prisoner Deradicalization by Engaging the
Community .........................................................................................35
3.
Internal Security Department’s (Singapore Prison System)
Collaboration with RRG ...................................................................36
F.
INTERNAL SECURITY DEPARTMENT’S (PRISON SERVICES)
ROLE IN PRISONER DERADICALIZATION.........................................37
vii

G.

CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES AND ORGANIZATIONAL POLICY
CONSIDERATIONS .....................................................................................40

IV.

COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF SAUDI ARABIA’S PRISON
DERADICALIZATION MODEL ............................................................................41
A.
RATIONALE FOR COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF SAUDI
ARABIA’S DERADICALIZATION MODEL............................................41
B.
SAUDI ARABIA’S GOVERNMENT STRUCTURE.................................41
C.
SAUDI ARABIA’S LEGAL SYSTEM AND ATTEMPT TO CODIFY
TERRORISM LAWS ....................................................................................42
D.
SAUDI ARABIA’S REALIZATION OF THE NEED FOR A PRISON
DE-RADICALIZATION PROGRAM.........................................................44
E.
SAUDI ARABIA’S PRISON DERADICALIZATION PROGRAM ........45
1.
Advisory Committee ..........................................................................47
2.
Religious Subcommittee Framework ...............................................49
3.
Saudi Arabia’s Counseling Process ..................................................50
4.
Psychological and Social Subcommittee Framework/Social
Support................................................................................................51
5.
Security Subcommittee Framework .................................................52
6.
Media Subcommittee Framework ....................................................53
7.
Detainee Family Members Role in the Program .............................53
F.
PROGRAM’S SUCCESS ..............................................................................54

V.

RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION .....................................................57
A.
RESTATEMENT OF RESEARCH LIMITATIONS ................................57
B.
AN ANALYSIS OF THE RELEVANT LITERATURE USED TO
FORM A BASIS FOR THE FOLLOWING RECOMMENDATIONS
FOR REDUCING THE VULNERABILITY OF PRISON
RADICALIZATION......................................................................................57
1.
Productive Rehabilitation and Effective Security: The Dual
Strategy ...............................................................................................58
2.
Effective Monitoring and Control of Prison Groups ......................59
3.
Rigorous Vetting and Monitoring of Prison Chaplains and
Religious Volunteers ..........................................................................60
4.
Encourage Positive Inmate/Family Social Interaction and
Communication ..................................................................................61
5.
Correctional Policy Should Encourage Social Research within
Prisons .................................................................................................61
6.
Provide Adequate Staff Training and Develop Intelligence
Sharing Networks with Criminal Justice Partners .........................62
C.
ANALYSIS OF THE TWO DERADICALIZATION PROGRAMS IN
SAUDI ARABIA AND SINGAPORE ..........................................................63
1.
Program Rehabilitative Efforts (Cognitive or Educational)
Used to Counter Violent Ideological Beliefs/Rationalizations
That Support the Use of Violence to Promote a Political or
Religious Agenda................................................................................64
viii

a.
2.

3.
4.

5.

Recommendation 1: Establishment of Voluntary
Cognitive-based Counseling Program....................................65
Program Characteristics: Voluntary or Involuntary
Participation and Incentives for Participation and Successful
Completion..........................................................................................66
a.
Recommendation 2: Incentives for Inmates ..........................67
Reported Success of the Programs ...................................................68
Methods Used to Promote Legitimacy and Validity to the
Program That in Theory Increases the Program’s Success ...........69
a.
Recommendation 3: Invest in Volunteers, Chaplains, and
Psychological Professionals and Partner with Family
Members ..................................................................................70
Methods of Aftercare or Post-Release Supervision ........................72
a.
Recommendation 4: Develop and Implement a Vigorous
Aftercare Initiative ..................................................................73

APPENDIX.
RECOMMENDATIONS
FOR
A
U.S.
PRISON
DERADICALIZATION MODEL ............................................................................77
LIST OF REFERENCES ......................................................................................................79
INITIAL DISTRIBUTION LIST .........................................................................................87

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LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1.
Figure 2.
Figure 3.

Group’s Influence in Promoting Prison Radicalization ...................................17
Environmental Factors Conducive to Prison Radicalization ...........................24
Saudi Arabia’s Prison Advisory Committee ....................................................46

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LIST OF ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS
ACA

American Correctional Association

BOP

Federal Bureau of Prison

CMU

Communication Management Unit

DO

Detention Order

FBI

Federal Bureau of Investigation

HSPI

Homeland Security Policy Institute

ICPVTR

International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research

ICTR

International Conference on Terrorist Rehabilitation

ISA

Internal Security Act

ISD

Internal Security Department

ISD

Internal Security Department

JI

Jemaah Islamiyah

JIS

Jam’iyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh (Assembly of Authentic Islam)

JTTF

Joint Terrorism Task Force

LCP

Law of Criminal Procedure

MHA

Minister of Home Affairs

MOI

Minister of Interior

NJTTF

National Joint Terrorism Task Force

NYPD

New York Police Department

OIG

Office of Inspector General

PD

Preventive Detention

RO

Restriction Order

RRG

Religious Rehabilitation Group

SPS

Singapore Prison Service

STG

Security Threat Group

TDOC

Tennessee Department of Correction

TLO

Terrorism Liaison Officer

U.K.

United Kingdom

U.S.

United States
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xiv

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This thesis is dedicated to the men and women who tirelessly work inside
America’s prisons and jails with great courage placing themselves in harm’s way on a
daily basis in an effort to maintain public safety. I acknowledge the correctional
employees’ family members who sacrifice so much in supporting those who help keep
America safe. I would like to express my appreciation to Tennessee Department of
Correction Commissioner Derrick Schofield for his vision, encouragement, and support
that allowed me to participate in this program. His leadership and recognition of the
importance of education has made the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) a
leader in the correctional field. I would like to acknowledge the many TDOC employees
who supported and encouraged me throughout this process. Without their support and
dedication, I could not have participated in this program.
Words cannot begin to express my appreciation to my thesis advisor, Dr. Nadav
Morag. His encouragement and timely advice, on many occasions, has helped me refocus
and remain consistent in my thesis work. Thank you, Dr. Christopher Bellavita, for
helping me to remain focused early in this process and for your words of encouragement.
The steadfast support and accommodating nature of the entire CHDS staff have made this
journey most enjoyable.
Most importantly, I want to thank God, my family and friends for their support
and love. Without the unwavering support of my beautiful wife, Misty, and my loving
daughter, Madison, completing this program would not have been possible. Thank you
both for believing in me and being agreeable to sacrificing much of our time together
over the last 18 months.

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xvi

I.

INTRODUCTION

Scattered across the American landscape, shrouded by razor wire and security
watch towers, resembling air traffic control stations, are America’s correctional facilities.
Within each correctional facility lives a restrictive, multifaceted community of
individuals who collectively make up the inmate population of the United States. This
unique population, prone to violence and antisocial behavior, has been identified as being
vulnerable to a lethal phenomenon known as prison radicalization.1 For the purpose of
this research, prison radicalization is defined as a cognitive process whereby inmates
develop a violent, extremist mindset that legitimatizes the need and use of violence to
promote a political or religious agenda. Prison radicalization has left its footprint on
society through the actions of individuals such as Kevin James, Jose Padilla, and Michael
Finton.2 Inmates, who were radicalized inside correctional facilities and set forth on a
mission, within our neighborhoods, to kill and destroy to promote their ideology.
Kevin James was 21 years old and a Crip gang member when he entered
California State Prison for robbery.3 James founded the extremist group Jam’iyyat UlIslam Is-Saheeh (Assembly of Authentic Islam or JIS) while incarcerated in California’s
New Folsom State Prison. James used his gang influence and charismatic personality to
radicalize and recruit fellow gang members as well as encourage other members to recruit
once released on parole.4 Outside of prison, members planned terrorist attacks on Los
Angeles area synagogues, military facilities, and the Israeli consulate.
Jose Padilla is currently serving a 17-year sentence for conspiracy to commit
murder.5 Padilla converted to Islam in prison and associated himself with members of al1 Greg Hannah, Lindsay Clutterbuck, and Jennifer Rubin, Radicalization or Rehabilitation
Understanding the Challenge of Extremist and Radicalized Prisoners (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2008);
Frank J. Cilluffo, Out of the Shadows Getting Ahead of Prisoner Radicalization: A Special Report
(Washington, DC: George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute, 2006).
2 House Committee on Homeland Security, Background Information on Prominent Post-9/11 U.S.

Prison Radicalization Cases (Washington, DC: Committee on Oversight and Government Affairs, 2011).
3 Hannah, Clutterbuck, and Rubin, Radicalization or Rehabilitation, 70.
4 Ibid.
5 Committee on Homeland Security, Background Information, 3.

1

Qaeda before becoming a member himself. He plotted multiple “dirty bomb” attacks on
U. S. targets prior to being arrested on May 8, 2002.6 Michael Finton was radicalized in
an Illinois prison and later conspired with an undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation
(FBI) agent to murder Representative Aaron Schock by setting off a bomb outside the
congressman’s office.7

Although not every radicalized prisoner commits an act of

terrorism, it is critical that we realize every radicalized prisoner poses a significant
security threat that deserves proactive attention.
Although the number of individuals under corrections supervision declined 1.3
percent in 2010, the United States continues to maintain the largest prison population in
the world at just over 1.6 million inmates.8 Ninety-five percent of the inmate population
in the United States will be returning to our communities.9 One of the most critical
responsibilities all correctional systems share is providing inmates rehabilitation
opportunities that enhance their chances of becoming law abiding citizens upon their
return to society. Currently, the United States has no deradicalization/disengagement
model to combat prison radicalization.
The American prison system exemplifies many of the variables that have been
identified as promoting radicalization. Prisons are described as isolated environments,
full of socially isolated souls desperately searching for a sense of self identification.10 In
such an environment, inmates become easy targets for radical extremists searching for
individuals to join their cause. It is important to note that the majority of American
inmates are incarcerated in state prisons and local jails.11 Considering the high volume of
inmates incarcerated locally, the United States must focus on the potential for

6 Committee on Homeland Security, Background Information, 3.
7 Ibid.
8 Bureau of Justice Statistics, “U.S. Correctional Population Declined for Second Consecutive Year,”

Bureau of Justice Statistics, http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/press/p10cpus10pr.cfm (accessed May 3,
2012).
9 Timothy Hughes and Doris J. Wilson, Reentry Trends in the United States (Washington, DC: Bureau

of Justice Statistics, 2004).
10 Cilluffo, Out of the Shadows, 38.
11 Bureau of Justice Statistics, “U.S. Correctional Population Declined,” 1.

2

radicalization within state and local correctional facilities and not just in federal prisons.
We must recognize prison radicalization as a significant concern and threat to America’s
homeland security.
Prison radicalization is not exclusive to Islamic radicalization; although Islamic
radicalization, based on prior incidents of prisoners being radicalized in prison and
engaging in terrorist activity, seems to be most prevalent. Frank Cilluffo’s testimony
before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs identified
the ever-present threat of right-wing radicals and terrorists.

Although not sharing the

same in-group with the Islamic Jihadist, these groups will join efforts in promoting their
hatred of the United States government and Israel.12 In recognizing the importance of
countering all forms of radicalization (Islamic, right wing, etc.), it is also important to
recognize that prison radicalization and prison security threat group (STG) activity are
entirely different components of destructive activity. Although prison gangs are one of
the most destructive forces inside our correctional facilities today and, in some cases,
STG activity has been used as a tool to help recruit and promote prison radicalization,
most security threat groups (STG) are criminally oriented and their violent actions are not
driven by a political or religious ideology.13
Currently, opportunities for prison radicalization permeates the perimeters of our
correctional facilities unchecked and traveling in both directions. The radicalized
message enters the correctional environment through numerous avenues. Radicalized
inmates, unvetted radical chaplains, extremist propaganda labeled as religious material,
illegal cell phones, and social media sites deliver the messages of intolerance and
destruction that justify violence to support a particular political agenda or religious
ideology. Just as the radicalized message enters our correctional facilities and finds fertile
ground to multiply, the deadliest consequences are recognized when the radicalized
inmate leaves the facility and enters society to carry out their final actions in a deadly act
called terrorism.
12 Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Prison Radicalization: Are
Terrorist Cells Forming in U.S. Cell Blocks? 109th Cong. 2nd sess., 2006, 6.
13 National Drug Intelligence Center, 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment: Emerging Trends,
2011, http://info.publicintelligence.net/NGIC-GTA-2011.pdf (accessed September 17, 2012).

3

Without an established deradicalization/disengagement model that offers inmates
education, vocational, and treatment options to counter prison radicalization, the United
States will maintain a reactive posture to inmates returning to society who may have been
exposed to radicalization during their period of incarceration, not to mention the terrorist
who completes his/her sentence and returns to society. Correctional policymakers must
be cognizant of the contributing factors that promote radicalization within the prison and
ensure procedures are designed to counter prison radicalization. The cost of this proactive
approach pales in comparison to the consequences of maintaining the status quo. Failing
to provide aggressive treatment and program options to counteract prison radicalization
leaves the prison gates open to releasing potentially radicalized individuals back into our
neighborhoods.
What would an effective American deradicalization/disengagement program for
American correctional facilities consist of? To address this question, this thesis will
answer the following research questions:
A.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.
1.

B.

Primary Research Question
What are the most effective strategies to counter prison radicalization in
the United States?

2.

Secondary Research Questions

1.

What are the contributing factors that promote prison radicalization?

2.

What effect do prison gangs or security threat groups (STGs) have on
prison radicalization?

3.

What elements of the Singapore and Saudi Arabia’s prison
deradicalization rehabilitation program could be applied to an American
prison deradicalization program?

METHODOLOGY
This thesis will utilize a comparative analysis of two deradicalization/

disengagement programs; one currently being utilized in the Singapore prison system and
one being the Saudi Arabia prison system. Through research, these two programs will be
studied and analyzed to collect externally valid data that will be utilized to frame a
4

suggested best practice deradicalization/disengagement model for consideration by
United States correctional policymakers. By utilizing a comparative analysis approach,
the core program principles and policies can be investigated and analyzed to determine
the most successful elements that may be adaptable to the United States.
Given the fact there are currently no prison deradicalization programs in the
United States, two programs from other countries were selected for the comparative
analysis. Singapore was chosen primarily due to the reported success of its program, and
the fact that Singapore, like the United States, has a minority Muslim population.
Although the research will not focus exclusively on Islamic radicalization, the Singapore
program will offer a unique picture of rehabilitation and aftercare of a minority Muslim
population and, in turn, provide data that will be beneficial in developing a recommended
United States deradicalization model. Saudi Arabia was chosen primarily due to the
reported success of the program.
The development of a United States prison deradicalization/disengagement model
will require the identification of contributing factors, within the prison setting, that
promote prison radicalization and suggested methods of countering and reducing the
effects of prison radicalization. Existing research relevant to prison radicalization and the
comparative analysis of Singapore and Saudi Arabia’s prison deradicalization programs
will provide data relevant to reducing the vulnerability of prisoner radicalization inside
the correctional domain as well as provide possible treatment and rehabilitative options
for radicalized prisoners.
Recognizing the limitations in comparing two countries with very different
government structures and constitutional safeguards, not to mention the complexity of
ideological motivated radicalization, an objective comparison of two existing
deradicalization programs will provide useful data for consideration in recommending a
best practice U.S. deradicalization model. Although all characteristics of the Singapore
and Saudi programs will be compared, I will concentrate on the following elements of
each

program

as

determining

factors

deradicalization/disengagement efforts:
5

that

suggest

program

success

and

C.

1.

Program rehabilitative efforts (cognitive or educational) used to counter
violent ideological beliefs/rationalizations that support the use of violence
to promote a political or religious agenda.

2.

Program characteristics: voluntary or involuntary participation and
incentives for participation and successful completion.

3.

Reported success of the program

4.

Methods used to promote legitimacy and validity to the program which in
theory increases the program’s success.

5.

Methods of aftercare or post release supervision.

RESEARCH LIMITATIONS
The prison deradicalization programs of Singapore and Saudi Arabia were

designed and implemented based on the governmental oversight for each particular
country, applicable laws, and cultural considerations of both countries represented.
Acknowledging the absence of a democratic governmental structure that supports full
disclosure, the data presented in this thesis was derived from open source material as
reported by the source and the two governments of Singapore and Saudi Arabia. I
recognize and acknowledge the profound differences in both governmental structures as
well as the significant variations related to the absence of civil liberties protections and
due process protections as compared to the United States.
Even so, the value of researching and studying best practices from what appears
to be successful deradicalization programs from other countries should not be dismissed.
Albeit the deradicalization programs of Singapore and Saudi Arabia were designed to
counter radicalization within their respective borders, unique elements of these programs
may offer possible solutions to prison radicalization in the United States that should be
studied and evaluated through a filter that maintains the constitutional protections
afforded to U.S. prisoners.
D.

LITERATURE REVIEW
The literature related to prison radicalization and de-radicalization programs

originates primarily from governmental reports, testimony during congressional hearings,
university research reports, and studies conducted by law enforcement agencies. This
6

literature review focuses on prison radicalization, which is divided into two sub
categories—literature

that

identifies

contributing

factors

that

promote

prison

radicalization and literature that identifies strategies to counter prison radicalization. The
literature review briefly focuses on prison de-radicalization policies in Middle Eastern
countries. The majority of the literature related to prison radicalization, as well as prison
de-radicalization policies, targets radical Islamic extremism, and ignores other extremist
groups.
1.

Prison Radicalization: Contributing Factors

In a 2008 RAND Europe governmental report, the contributing factors of prison
radicalization of young European Muslims was researched. The report identifies
perceived racism or discrimination as a potential catalyst to radicalization.14 The report
studies the impact of incarceration on young Muslims based on “generalized principles”
that the author uses to define the common prison experience. The report compares
prisoner behavior traits for violent Jihadist with other extremist groups, such as Irish
Republicans. Similar group traits are identified;15 yet more importantly, critical
differences are recognized that may provide significant insights to identifying counterradicalization approaches. The report recognizes the prison experience as enhancing the
possibility for radicalization, yet it fails to address the different types or levels of
incarceration, such as maximum custody supervision versus minimum custody
supervision. Without distinguishing between the different levels of prison supervision
and the possible effects each could have on radicalization, a complete picture of the
incarceration experience is not possible.
A special report by the George Washington University Homeland Security Policy
Institute, titled Out of the Shadows: Getting Ahead of Prisoner Radicalization, provided
findings from a task force of subject matter experts who studied all facets of prison
radicalization.16

The task force studied prison radicalization and solicited valuable

14 Hannah, Clutterbuck, and Rubin, Radicalization or Rehabilitation, 14.
15 Ibid.
16 Cilluffo, Out of the Shadows, i.

7

insight from correctional professionals at the federal, state, and local levels to analyze the
complex phenomenon known as prison radicalization. The report provided several key
findings and identified a common gap in the literature by reinforcing the point that social
science research related to American prison radicalization is definitely insufficient to
provide a clear understanding of the concept.17
Governments have shown an interest in identifying the contributing factors that
promote radicalization. A Dutch government study in 2005 identified a factor of the
radicalization process as being a crisis of self-identity.18 The Dutch study identifies an
internal struggle that young Muslims experience by being incarcerated in a foreign
country and how feelings of discrimination and racism may contribute to the
radicalization process.19 A 2007 U.K. government study supported the Dutch research by
identifying the self-identity conflict as being a significant factor in prison radicalization.
During a 2006 Senate hearing before the Committee on Homeland Security and
Governmental Affairs, Frank Cilluffo, Director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute
at George Washington University, testified that poor screening procedures and
inadequate supervision of clergy and religious volunteers enhance the threat of religious
radicalization among prisoners.20 Cilluffo’s testimony identified a common theme in the
literature that most American correctional facilities are understaffed and employees are
ill-trained to recognize and respond to prison radicalization. Furthermore, a 2004 survey
of 193 state wardens provided evidence that half of the wardens permitted inmates to act
as spiritual leaders and conduct religious services due to a shortage of correctional
religious staff.21 In addition, the testimony provided during the 2006 hearing emphasized

17 Cilluffo, Out of the Shadows, i.
18 Hannah, Clutterbuck, and Rubin, Radicalization or Rehabilitation, 14.
19 Ibid.
20 Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Prison Radicalization, 159.
21 George W. Knox, The Problem of Gangs and Security Threat Groups in American Prisons Today:
Recent Research Findings from the 2004 Prison Gang Survey (Peotone, IL: National Gang Crime Research
Center, 2005). http://www.ngcrc.com/corr2006.html (accessed August 15, 2012).

8

a common goal shared by other extremist groups such as Christian Identity and Aryan
Nation groups with extremist Muslim groups in promoting hostility toward the United
States government and Israel.22
On June 15, 2011, Peter King, Committee Chairman for the United States House
of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security, held hearings on the threat of
Muslim-American radicalization in United States prisons. The testimony of Michael
Downing, Commanding Officer of the Counter-Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau
of the Los Angeles Police Department, identified the prison’s isolated environment a
place where violence is the norm and the cultural discontent within make prisons
susceptible to recruitment and radicalization by extremist groups.23

The literature

recognizes 80 percent of prison converts as individuals converting to Islam and correlates
this conversion with dozens of Americans, who after converting to Islam, traveled to
Yemen to receive training from al-Qaeda.24
Research has labeled prisons as radicalization incubators. A New York Police
Department (NYPD) report entitled, Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat,
listed prisons along with cafes, cab driver hangouts, flophouses, student associations,
hookah (water pipe) bars, butcher shops, and book stores as “pit stops” or “meeting
places” that serve as radicalizing agents.25 The report identified prisons as “a radicalizing
cauldron,” playing a critical role in both triggering and reinforcing the radicalization
process. The prison’s “isolated environment, ability to create a captive audience
atmosphere, its absence of day to day distractions, and its large population of disaffected
young men, has been identified as making it an excellent breeding ground for

22 Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Prison Radicalization, 159.
23 House Committee on Homeland Security, The Threat of Muslim-American Radicalization in U.S.
Prisons, 112th Cong. 1st sess. [Testimony of Michael Downing], 2, https://www.hsdl.org/?view&did=9102
(accessed September 12, 2012).
24 Ibid., 3.
25 Mitchell D. Silber and Arvin Bhatt, Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat (New York:
New York City Police Department, 2007).

9

radicalization.”26 This NYPD report and the testimony provided by Michael Downing
promotes a common theme regarding correctional characteristics that make prisons
susceptible to radicalization and extremism.
2.

Prison Radicalization: Counter-Radicalization Strategies

A common theme in the literature related to counter-radicalization strategies is the
importance of controlling gang activity and its influence on extremist groups. In 2011,
the National Gang Intelligence Center reported that when compared to other inmates,
prison gang members were more susceptible to radicalization.27 The report stated gang
members’ resentment toward authority and feelings of rejection from mainstream society
were the catalysts that promoted the propensity for radicalization.28 In October 2008,
Mark Hamm authored an article for the National Institute of Justice, “Prisoner
Radicalization: Assessing the Threat in U.S. Correctional Institutions,” that emphasized
the influence a charismatic gang leader, such as Kevin James, could have on
individuals.29 The literature calls attention to the importance of monitoring such activity
and extending counter-radicalization efforts once the inmates leave the correctional
facility.
Michael Downing’s testimony in June 2011 provided details of counter
radicalization strategies between law enforcement and correctional agencies. Downing
explained how the Terrorism Liaison Officers (TLOs) program serves as a specialized
point of contact for the community, providing terrorism information and intelligence.30
Downing explained how the TLO program had been extended into the California prison
system.31 The report gives a rare example of law enforcement and correctional systems
26 Silber and Bhatt, Radicalization in the West, 39.
27 Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment (Washington, DC: Federal

Bureau of Investigation, 2011), http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/2011-national-gang-threatassessment (accessed October 20, 2011).
28 Ibid.
29 Mark S. Hamm, “Prisoner Radicalizaton: Assessing the Threat in U.S. Correctional Facilities,” NIJ

Journal 261 (October, 2008).
30 House Committee on Homeland Security. The Threat of Muslim-American, 2.
31 Ibid.

10

joining forces to share information related to prison radicalization and terrorism. What
the testimony fails to provide is a recommendation or strategy to combat the factors that
promote prison radicalization, which has been identified as a significant gap in the
literature.
Michael Brown’s thesis, “Freed: Ripples of the Convicted and Released Terrorist
in America,” identified the fact that America’s prison system does not treat terrorist any
differently than other convicted criminals.32 The thesis does a good job demonstrating
the, “out of sight, out of mind” mentality that America seems to promote once we
incarcerate a terrorist. This literature is relevant because it identifies a significant gap in
the literature related to the absence of prison rehabilitation programs that target prison
radicalization. Most of the literature mentioned in this review identifies the problem
(prison radicalization) yet fails to recommend a policy that provides the inmate with an
avenue to disengage from the radicalized mindset before returning to society.
3.

De-radicalization Policies: Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and United
States

Literature

related

to

prison

deradicalization/disengagement

programs

predominately focus on Saudi Arabia and Singapore’s efforts to rehabilitate the
radicalized mindset. In a February 2008 article for Perspectives on Terrorism, John
Horgan, a leading figure in the study of deradicalization and disengagement efforts,
provides a detailed analysis of the difference in the two terms, deradicalization and
disengagement.33

Horgan stresses the importance in understanding the phases of

radicalization and how understanding the disengagement of an individual from terroristic
activity may provide valuable details to promote counterterrorism strategy. 34 Horgan
points to the reality that not every individual who experiences disengagement from
terrorist activity experiences deradicalization.35
32 Michael A. Brown, “Freed: Ripples of the Convicted and Released Terrorist in America” (master’s
thesis, Naval Postgraduate School, 2011), 129.
33John Horgan, “Deradicalization or Disengagement?” Perspectives on Terrorism 2, no. 4 (2010).
34 Ibid., 4.
35 Ibid.

11

In an April, 2011 article from the Journal of Policing, Intelligence, and Counter
Terrorism, titled “Terrorist Rehabilitation: A Global Imperative,” Rohan Gunaratna,
makes the case for rehabilitating the “operational terrorist” and the “extremist supporters”
prior to these individuals returning to society.36 Gunaratna provides a comprehensive
summary of the different opportunities or areas for terrorist rehabilitation and provides
the rationale and operational components of Singapore’s Religious Rehabilitation Group
(RRG).37

In addition, Muhammad Haniff Bin Hassan, a research analyst for the

International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at the Institute of
Defense and Strategic Studies, Nanyyang Technological University, Singapore, authored
a 2006 article in Small Wars & Insurgencies, titled, “An Ideological Response to
Combating Terrorism: The Singapore Perspective.” Hassan makes the case for utilizing
an “ideological response” to combat terrorism.38

The paper uses the Singapore

experience in fighting the radicalized mindset as an example of how to take a soft
approach to prisoner radicalization and provides examples of utilizing the religious
community as partners in the battle against the radicalized individual.39
The late Christopher Boucek, who served as an associate in the Carnegie Middle
East Program, provided a great deal of the literature related to Saudi Arabia’s
counterterrorism efforts. In 2008, Boucek wrote a paper that was published by the
Carnegie Endowment

for

International Peace, titled,

Saudi Arabia’s “Soft”

Counterterrorism Strategy: Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Aftercare.40

Boucek

provided a general overview of the early history of the program that was initiated after a
series of lethal terrorist attacks that plagued Saudi Arabia in 2003. Boucek provides an
overview of the various stages of the “soft” approach to fighting radicalization and
36 Rohan Gunaratna, “Terrorist Rehabilitation: A Global Imperative,” Journal of Policing, Intelligence

and Counter Terrorism 6, no. 1 (2011): 65.
37 Ibid.
38 Mohamed Feisal Mohamed Hassan and Kenneth G. Pereire, “An Ideological Response to
Combating Terrorism: The Singapore Perspective,” Small Wars & Insurgencies 17, no. 4 (December,
2006): 458–477.
39 Ibid.
40 Christopher Boucek, Saudi Arabia’s “Soft” Counterterrorism Strategy Prevention, Rehabilitation,
and Aftercare (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2008).

12

explains how the “war of the minds” can be fought by taking a re-education approach that
teaches detainees and inmates, who have received a flawed ideological perspective of the
Islamic faith, a true understanding of their religious doctrine.41 The three main focus
areas of the Saudi plan, prevention, rehabilitation, and aftercare, are examined to provide
the reader a general idea of the specific goals for each phase of the program.42
Realizing the importance of an accurate assessment of the effectiveness of such
programs, John Horgan and Kurt Braddock authored a March 2010 article,
“Rehabilitating the Terrorists: Challenges in Assessing the Effectiveness of Deradicalization Programs,” published in Terrorism and Political Violence.43 The article
reviewed Boucek’s summary of the Saudi program and provided a critical analysis of
how the effectiveness of de-radicalization programs were measured.44

The article

pointed to serious considerations when attempting to determine the success of any
deradicalization program.45
Tore Bjorgo and John Horgan’s Leaving Terrorism Behind: Individual and
Collective Disengagement, uses case studies to provide an analysis of disengagement and
de-radicalization initiatives in non-Western countries.46 In 2010, the International Centre
for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence published a study of deradicalization programs in Middle Eastern countries.47

Although this literature is

relevant to prison de-radicalization policy and provides details of Middle Eastern de-

41 Boucek, Saudi Arabia’s “Soft” Counterterrorism Strategy.
42 Ibid.
43John Horgan and Kurt Braddock, “Rehabilitating the Terrorists?: Challenges in Assessing the
Effectiveness of De-Radicalization Programs, “ Terrorism & Political Violence 22, no. 2 (April, 2010):
267–291.
44 Ibid., 276–277.
45 Ibid.
46 Tore Bjorgo and John Horgan, eds., Leaving Terrorism Behind: Individual and Collective

Disengagement (New York: Routledge, 2009), 308.
47 Peter R. Neumann, Prisons and Terrorism: Radicalisation and De-Radicalisation in 15 Countries

(London, England: International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, 2010),
http://icsr.info/publications/papers/1277699166PrisonsandTerrorismRadicalisationandDeradicalisationin15
Countries.pdf (accessed June 15, 2012).

13

radicalization models, there is no literature related to U.S. prison de-radicalization models
thus identifying a significant void in the research.
E.

CONCLUSION
The literature related to prison radicalization and counter radicalization strategies

recognizes the need for additional research.48 Some literature has identified social factors
related to prison radicalization yet failed to identify strategies that might negate the
environmental factors, found in prison, that contribute to radicalization. Very little
attention has been given to distinguishing between possible effects of different security
custody levels and if more restricted supervision has an effect on prisoner radicalization.
Research has identified poor vetting procedures for religious leaders and correctional
staff shortages as a contributing factor for radicalization. Close supervision and control of
gang activity and aggressive information sharing has been mentioned in the literature as
critical counter radicalization initiatives.
The deradicalization/disengagement programs in Saudi Arabia and Singapore
provide an example of “soft approaches” to fighting the radical ideology of violent
extremist. Currently, these Middle Eastern programs are the only proactive examples of
deradicalization efforts for the radicalized prisoner. The most obvious void in the
literature is the absence of a counter radicalization program for America’s prison
population. In the next chapter, we will examine the U.S. policies related to the
confinement and management of convicted terrorist. A review of existing research related
to the radicalization process inside correctional facilities will help identify contributing
factors that promote radicalization inside this isolated and vulnerable society called
prison.

48 Hamm, “Prisoner Radicalization,” 55.

14

II.

AN ANALYSIS OF THE CORRECTIONAL ENVIRONMENT
My years of correctional experience have provided a unique insight related to the

cold and secluded environment called prison. As a new correctional officer, I remember
watching the metal gates of Lake County Regional Prison slowly close. These gates,
resembling large gothic structures shrouded with razor wire and electrical sensors,
separated the “free world”49 from the population of inmates housed within. As the steel
locking mechanism engaged and the metal gate slammed shut, my eight-hour shift began
with a strong awareness of being in a new environment where trust was fictional, group
influence was evident, and self-preservation was a goal shared by all.
It has been 29 years since my first experience as a correctional officer. After
serving in every security position, eight years as warden of two maximum and close
custody facilities, and currently employed as Assistant Commissioner of Prisons for the
Tennessee Department of Correction, I am frequently reminded of the relief I felt in
knowing I only had to experience the prison setting for eight hours each day. The inmates
were not so lucky.
I describe the correctional environment as dynamic, temperamental, and
unforgiving. It is an environment that makes you question your identity and beliefs.50
Good policies and procedures implemented by professional staff can reduce violence and
enhance security. Grievances and hostile attitudes directed toward the government, which
is charged with enforcing the rules and regulations, are common. Educational and
treatment programs will promote rehabilitation, but I suspect nothing negates the negative
influences of experiencing life as a prisoner. This chapter will examine the research
related to the prison environment as well as correctional procedures and their relation to
prison radicalization. The current U.S. philosophy for incarcerating inmates convicted of
terrorism in the United States will also be researched.

49 “Free world” refers to the free society—that environment to which inmates have no access.
50 Hannah, Clutterbuck, and Rubin, Radicalization or Rehabilitation, 14.

15

A.

GROUPS AND SECURITY THREAT GROUP INFLUENCES
In the correctional setting, it is not uncommon to witness the gravitation of like-

minded individuals as they cluster into groups.51 Within such groups, commonalities
form and a gradual separation of the in-group52 from the general population takes place.
In a 2008 report by Hannah, Clutterbuck, and Rubin, this type of behavior was described
as a “self segregation” of the group from the general population.53 Within such groups of
individuals searching for a new identity, a charismatic leader finds fertile ground to
promote an in-group ideology. As Hanna et al., point out in the above referenced article,
such activity should not automatically be surmised as radicalization or extremism; yet, it
does create a vulnerable atmosphere, ripe for radicalization and deserving of special
attention of the prison’s administration.54 Groups provide the charismatic group leader
the perfect opportunity to promote a radical “cut and paste” translation of religious
doctrine to a group of vulnerable inmates, anxiously seeking acceptance in an extremely
intimidating environment.55
Security threat groups continue to be a significant security concern inside
correctional facilities as well as providing a model for radicalization.56

As Hamm

reflected in a 2008 article, the radicalization process within the correctional setting often
follows the gang model.57 Inmates join gangs for many reasons including protection, to
promote and participate in illicit activity, or to promote a particular ideology or agenda.
Inmates entering the correctional setting often find themselves without a support
structure.58 In 2011, the National Gang Intelligence Center reported that, compared to

51 Hamm, “Prisoner Radicalization,” 4.
52 “In-group” is defined as a group of individual who share a common purpose. The group defines the

individual and the members will discredit the out group to build in-group cohesion. The in-group helps
establish a new social identity.
53 Hannah, Clutterbuck, and Rubin, Radicalization or Rehabilitation, 39.
54 Ibid.
55 Cilluffo, Out of the Shadows, 2.
56 Hannah, Clutterbuck, and Rubin, Radicalization or Rehabilitation, 17.
57 Ibid.
58 Ibid., 6.

16

other inmates, prison gang members were much more susceptible to radicalization.59
Gangs or security threat groups, led by a charismatic leader, provide inmates the support
structure and protection they desire as long as the inmate supports the agenda of the ingroup.60 Hamm’s research of the Florida and California prison system and a study of the
Kevin James case, identified “inmate leadership as the most important factor in prisoner
radicalization”61

•Experiences Identity Crisis
•Self Segregation Develops

•New Identity Established
•In-Group Solitifies
•Group's Idelodogy Forms

•Promotes Idelodogy
•Promotes/Enforces In-Group
Cohesion

Figure 1.

4. Setting Ripe
for
Radicalization

1. Individual
Enters Prison

3. Power of
Charasmatic
Leader

2. Prison Groups/
Gangs
•Inmates Join for
Protection/Support/ New
Identity
•In-Group Cohesion Develops

Group’s Influence in Promoting Prison Radicalization

Security threat groups have crossed racial lines as well as joined forces with
traditional enemies to unite under a common goal of destroying a mutual opponent.62 In
a special report by the George Washington University Homeland Security Policy
Institute, the author makes note of traditional rival gangs such as right wing extremist

59 National Drug Intelligence Center, 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment, 31.
60 Hamm, Prisoner Radicalizaton, 17.
61 Ibid., 15.
62 Ibid.

17

groups and Muslim extremist joining forces to target Israel. 63 It is important to make the
point that Islamic radicalization is not the only extremist threat within the correctional
facility. Many right wing extremist groups that adhere to Christian Identity spread the
radical ideology and intolerance inside America’s prisons.64
The in-group influence inside the prison environment is a dominant force that
deserves attention and provides a mechanism capable of fostering violent radicalization.
Mark Hamm interviewed a veteran prison chaplain who reported the inmates’ resentment
for the government, aggressiveness, as well as seeking a religious group nexus to support
their hostility toward governmental authority as enhancements for prison radicalization.65
The influence of the in-group on its members, as well as the platform the group provides
in promoting an ideology, is conducive to radicalization. Although gangs in prison
predominantly focus their illicit efforts toward traditional criminal activity, prison gangs
with a social or political nexus is more susceptible to violent radicalization.66
Correctional administrators must be aware of security threat groups and their potential
influences on prison radicalization as well as the correctional procedures that may be
conducive to radicalization.
B.

INADEQUATE
VOLUNTEERS

VETTING

OF

PRISON

CHAPLAINS/RELIGIOUS

The chaplain’s responsibilities within the prison environment are complex and
multifaceted. Correctional chaplains have a unique insight into the ideologies and
agendas of the various religious groups within the inmate population. Correctional
chaplains are charged with the responsibility of monitoring and supervising religious
activity to maintain the integrity of the religious programs. 67 The American Correctional
Association (ACA), the agency that establishes and monitors nationally recognized best
63 Cilluffo, Out of the Shadows, 38.
64 Ibid.
65 Hamm, Prisoner Radicalizaton, 18.
66 National Drug Intelligence Center, 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment, 33.
67 Office of Inspector General, A Review of the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Selection of Muslim
Religious Services Providers (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, 2004),
http://www.justice.gov/oig/special/0404/final.pdf (accessed July 18, 2012).

18

practices and correctional standards through correctional accreditation, requires chaplains
to “plan, direct and coordinate all aspects of the religious program, including approval
and training of both lay and clergy volunteers from faiths represented by the inmate
population.”68
Providing qualified Islamic religious services that are supervised by qualified
Islamic religious leaders or scholars is a significant challenge. 69 It is extremely difficult
to employ and locate qualified Islamic volunteers to lead the Islamic religious services
within many of America’s correctional facilities.70 A more difficult task is determining
what qualifies as a qualified Islamic religious leader or scholar. The Inspector General’s
investigation into the Federal Bureau of Prison’s (BOP) selection process of Muslim
religious services providers identified a critical issue in that there is no ecclesiastical
body to certify Islamic providers.71 The report makes the point that in Muslim countries,
the government certifies the legitimacy of the religion. Without an independent body to
certify Islamic religious providers, the BOP has been encouraged to consider other
possible methods to certify Islamic clergy such as intensive screening, interviews, and
background checks.72 Such recommendations seem appropriate to fill the void of a
certifying body and to provide Islamic services to the inmate population; however, the
result of this is yet to be seen.
Faced with the void of a trusted Islamic religious leader and the pressure to ensure
constitutionally protected religious freedoms, some correctional chaplains and wardens
approve the Islamic services to be led by inmates who serve as the “prison Imams.”73 In
2004, 193 state prison wardens indicated only 50 percent of the religious services were
supervised by staff and only half were monitored by audio or video surveillance. 74 With
68 American Correctional Association, Standards for Adult Correctional Institutions, 4th ed.

(Alexandria, VA: American Correctional Association, 2003), 160.
69 Cilluffo, Out of the Shadows, 38.
70 Office of Inspector General, A Review of the Federal Bureau of Prisons’, 11.
71 Ibid.
72 Ibid.
73 Cilluffo, Out of the Shadows, 38.
74 Knox, The Problem of Gangs, 24.

19

inmates leading the service, an opportunity for a distorted version of religious doctrine
develops and the vulnerability to religious radicalization increases.
Inadequate vetting of prison chaplains provides an open invitation for radicalized
clergy to promote a radicalized message to the inmate population. The United States has
experienced the consequences of poor vetting procedures for chaplains on more than one
occasion. For example, the New York State correctional system failed to properly screen
a prison chaplain supervisor who was later discovered to have exhibited ties to Al-Qaeda
and actively engaged in anti-American extremist activity with the prisoners.75
Warith Deen Umar, an ex-inmate and former imam in charge of recruiting and
training chaplains for New York’s prison system as well as providing religious
instruction himself to inmates, provides an example of how a prison chaplain can directly
introduce radical Whabhabism and intolerance to a captive audience. Imam Umar
declared the 9/11 hijackers as “martyrs” and identified the African American inmates
who practice Islam as being the “natural candidates” to lead further attacks in the spirit of
spreading justice for the American oppression of Muslims.76 Imam Umar also provided
inmate Islamic supervision, on a part-time basis, for the Federal Bureau of Prisons.77
After receiving questions from the Wall Street Journal, the BOP terminated Umar’s
services and the U.S. Department of Justice Inspector General ordered an investigation
related to the procedures for hiring Islamic clergy.78
The United States Military charged Captain James Yee, a Muslim chaplain who
served at Guantanamo Bay, with charges related to terrorist activity.79 In each case, a
captive audience was exposed to radicalized messages that could have produced a
75 Paul M. Barrett, “Captive Audience: How a Chaplain Spread Extremism to an Inmate Flock,” Wall

Street Journal, February 5, 2003, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1044395093714681453.html (accessed
August 15, 2012).
76 Ibid.
77 Ibid.
78 House Committee on Homeland Security. The Threat of Muslim-American, 3.
79 Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology, and Homeland Security, Terrorism: Radical

Islamic Influences on Chaplaincy of the U.S. Military and Prisons, 108th Cong., 1st sess., 2003, S. HRG
108–443, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-108shrg93254/pdf/CHRG-108shrg93254.pdf (accessed
September 21, 2012).

20

radicalized individual much like one of the three dozen Americans who previously
converted to Islam while in prison and travelled to Yemen after release to train with AlQaeda.80
C.

LOSS OF LIBERTY AND FAMILY CONTACT
Prisoner personalities, employee personalities, and the conditions of confinement

are just a few of the many elements that make up the complex prison environment but the
restrictions on the inmate’s liberties are very dramatic. As Gresham Sykes articulated in
his study of approximately 1,200 maximum custody inmates in the state of New Jersey,
“We must see the prison as a society within a society.”81 In his research, Sykes reports
the inmate’s describing their experience inside the maximum security facility as
“depriving or frustrating in the extreme.”82 He also examined the inmate’s experience
and labels the characteristics of imprisonment in a maximum custody setting as “the
pains of imprisonment.”83 Moreover, Sykes identified the “loss of liberty” as being one
of the most dramatic characteristics experienced by inmates. I would argue this loss of
liberty and separation from support structures is relevant not only to prison radicalization
but also to the United States current method of housing convicted terrorists.
As reported by Hannah et al., the denial of liberty, a condition of confinement that
is universal in prison, creates a significant void with supportive networks such as family
and friends.84 As a prior warden of a maximum custody facility,85 I can testify to the
positive effects related to inmates maintaining relationships with positive family support
structures. It is my belief the support of family and friends provides motivation for
inmates to engage in rehabilitative initiatives that contribute to a positive reentry into
80 Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Al-Qaeda in Yemen and Somalia: A Ticking Time Bomb,

111th Cong. 2nd sess., 2010, S. PRT 111 4–5, https://www.hsdl.org/?view&did=30158 (accessed
November 12, 2011).
81 Gresham Sykes, The Society of Captives: A Study of a Maximum Security Prison (Princeton, NJ,
United States: Princeton University Press, 1958), xii.
82 Ibid., 63.
83 Ibid., 64.
84 Hannah, Clutterbuck, and Rubin, Radicalization or Rehabilitation, 6.
85 Tennessee Department of Corrections, West Tennessee State Penitentiary, Henning Tennessee,
Associate Warden from 1997–1999, Warden from 2006–2008.

21

society. Without these positive influences to promote disengagement from the negative
influences that motivated their criminal behavior, the inmate becomes susceptible to the
negative influences often found in the prison setting.
D.

ABSENCE OF SOCIAL RESEARCH AND INTELLIGENCE SHARING
The prison radicalization process is a phenomenon that will require intensive

social research to help build an understanding of the radicalization process.86 Because
social science research considers prisoners as a protective class and the reluctance of
correctional administrators to allow researchers access, the fundamental elements of this
complex process called prison radicalization are difficult to identify. In a special report
by the George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute (HSPI), one of
the key findings was a lack of “social science research” and the substantial absence of
information related to prison radicalization.87
With 93 percent of America’s inmates serving their sentence inside a state or local
prison,88 the intelligence sharing associated with extremist activity within our state and
local prison systems and the federal government is critical.89 Prisons much like other
governmental agencies are infamous for operating in silos. Until recently, the United
States had failed to address this intelligence oversight. In December 2011, the United
States issued the Strategic Implementation Plan for Empowering Local Partners to
Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States.90 This plan tasked the Department of
Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis to collaborate with the FBI and
Federal Bureau of Prisons “to access the capacity of state correctional institutions to
detect and share information regarding individuals who demonstrate behaviors associated
with violent extremism while in the correctional system.”

86 Cilluffo, Out of the Shadows, 38.
87 Ibid.
88 Bureau of Justice Statistics, “U.S. Correctional Population Declined.”
89 Cilluffo, Out of the Shadows, 38.
90 White House, Strategic Implementation Plan for Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent
Extremism in the United States (Washington, D.C.: White House, 2011),
http://www.hsdl.org/?view&did=694059 (accessed May 3, 2012).

22

In February 2003, the Correctional Intelligence Initiative was developed by the
Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Joint Terrorism Task Force (NJTTF). 91
The initiative originally established a collaborative partnership between the FBI and the
Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to collect intelligence relevant to international terrorist
activity within the BOP.92 Today, the initiative’s goal remains the same but also sets out
to collect and share correctional intelligence, relevant to extremist activity or
radicalization within the United States correctional environment.93 Federal Bureau of
Investigation field office personnel coordinate with Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF)
as well as state, local, territorial, tribal, and private corrections to collect and share
intelligence. The coordinators in each field office provide training to correctional partners
to enhance counter terrorism measures within the correctional systems.
Although the plan’s concept is good, there is a significant training component
that must be accomplished. 94 Correctional officers, chaplains, and other line staff
should receive the appropriate training to recognize radicalization or violent extremism.
Although intelligence initiatives and training is provided at the administrative level,
unless adequate training is provided for strategic areas, such as line staff, radicalization
and extremism could be mistaken for general disruptive inmate activity. This opinion is
supported by the recommendations of the Office of Inspector General documented in
the 2004 Review of The Federal Bureau of Prisons’ selection of Muslim Religious
Services Providers.95

Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) only recently

implemented an in-service training component for correctional officers to help the
officers recognize the elements and indicators of possible prison radicalization. 96
Without appropriate training, the signs and symptoms of violent extremism or prison
91 Joseph Billy to the Office of the Inspector General [review of the “Federal Bureau of Prisons’

Monitoring of Mail for High Risk Inmates”], 2006,
http://www.justice.gov/oig/reports/BOP/e0609/app8.htm (accessed May 3, 2012).
92 Ibid.
93 Billy to the Office of the Inspector General.
94 Ian M. Cuthbertson, “Prisons and the Education of Terrorists,” World Policy Journal 21, no. 3 (Fall
2004): 20.
95 Office of Inspector General, A Review of the Federal Bureau of Prisons’, 54.
96 Tennessee Correctional Academy, Prison Radicalization, Recognizing the Elements and
Responding to the Threat (Nashville, TN: Tennessee Department of Correction, 2011).

23

radicalization could go undetected by correctional staff. Research has identified the
need to train staff to recognize prison radicalization. 97

Figure 2.

Environmental Factors Conducive to Prison Radicalization

The prison environment is multifaceted and heavily influenced by the many
factors. The research related to prison radicalization provides an insight into components
that could facilitate prison radicalization. The negative effects of gangs in prison,
inadequate vetting of chaplains and volunteers, loss of family support, and poor
information sharing and staff training are target areas that must be addressed. The United
States must also consider the existing strategy for housing the convicted terrorist
currently incarcerated within our Federal Bureau of Prisons.
E.

EXISTING U.S STRATEGY FOR HOUSING/PROGRAMMING
INCARCERATED TERRORIST IN U.S. PRISONS
The Federal Bureau of Prisons currently houses 362 individuals convicted of

terrorism or terrorism related violations.98 The United States government has identified

97 Hamm, Prisoner Radicalization, 18.
98 Scott Shane, “Beyond Guantanamo, A Web of Prisons for Terrorism Inmates,” The New York
Times, sec. National News, December 10, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/11/us/beyondguantanamo-bay-a-web-of-federal-prisons.html?pagewanted=all (accessed September 12, 2012).

24

269 of these inmates as having international ties to terrorism.99 This number indicates a
significant increase in international ties, which reflected only 50 inmates with
international ties to terrorism in 2000.100 The United States has not escaped the domestic
threat from terrorism. The Federal Bureau of Prisons currently houses 93 inmates with a
domestic terrorism nexus.
The current U.S. method of incarcerating terrorists can be described as restrictive,
controlled, and not conducive to rehabilitation. Mark Hamm, in a research paper
supported by the Indiana State University Institute of Criminology and the National
Institute of Justice, described the U.S. model for housing inmates convicted of terrorism
as a “Total Segregation Model.”101 Under this model, the inmates are segregated in high
security units called “Communications Management Units” (CMU) located in Terra
Haute, Indiana, and Marion, Illinois.102 The CMU concept was initiated in 2006 after the
United States government discovered three terrorist, convicted of the 1993 World Trade
Center bombing, sent written communication to a Spanish terrorist cell.103 Today, these
CMUs house some of the highest profile terrorist such as Kevin James, Jose Padilla,
Richard Reid, Terry Nichols, and Ahmed Ressam (the millennium bomber).
These units are designed for maximum security and control and restricted inmate
contact with other individuals. All forms of inmate communications are monitored for
intelligence purposes with the exception of attorney/client correspondence.104 Assistant
Director for Correctional Programs Division of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, John
Vanyur, testified before a house subcommittee in 2007 that the BOP’s model focused on

99 Shane, “Beyond Guantanamo.”
100 Ibid.
101 Mark S. Hamm, “Locking up Terrorists: Three Models for Controlling Prisoner Radicalization”
(paper, Indiana State University, 2011), www.indstate.edu/ccj/crinst/Locking%20Up%20Terrorists.docx
(accessed November 23, 2012).
102 Carrie Johnson and Margot Williams, “Guantanamo North: Inside Secretive U.S. Prisons,” All
Things Considered, NPR, March 3, 2011.
103 Shane, “Beyond Guantanamo.”
104 House Committee on Homeland Security, Radicalization, Information Sharing and Community
Outreach: Protecting the Homeland from Homegrown Terror [testimony of John M. Vanyur], 2007,
http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/testimony/283.pdf (accessed November 23, 2011).

25

the preventing recruitment and radicalization by incarcerated extremist.105

Vanyur

testified that the BOP, in an effort to prevent inmate radicalization, has severed ties with
most community organizations that support inmate activities and organizations within the
prison.106 Personal contact with visitors and family visitation is extremely restrictive,
noncontact design and continuously monitored.107
Designed and modeled for maximum security and labeled as overly restrictive on
Muslim inmates,108 these units have been the recipient of criticism, scrutiny, and
litigation from inmates, American Islamic Relations groups and the American Civil
Liberties Union.109

Some Muslim inmates, who make up the majority of the

Communication Management Units (CMU) population, allege that their religious rights
have been violated by the restricted environment and what they perceive as a lack of due
process by being placed in the CMU.110 The Communication Management Units utilized
by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) as well as the operational philosophy used in
managing incarcerated U.S. terrorist, represent a dominant security based philosophy.
The current U.S. philosophy, designed to prevent the proliferation of the radicalized
message by implementing the segregation model, only addresses one of the symptoms of
a much larger issue. We must also consider the unintentional consequences of continued
segregation for inmates incarcerated for terrorism without providing an opportunity for
treatment options that counter their violent ideologies.
I define prison radicalization as a cognitive process whereby inmates develop a
violent extremist mindset that legitimatizes the need and use of violence to promote a
political or religious agenda. Within the prison setting, there are multiple variables that
make the inmate population vulnerable to radicalization. Without an established
deradicalization/disengagement model that provides inmates rehabilitation options to
105 Committee on Homeland Security, Radicalization, 2.
106 Ibid.
107 Johnson and Williams, “Guantanamo North;” Committee on Homeland Security, Radicalization, 2.
108 Shane, “Beyond Guantanamo.”
109 Johnson and Williams, “Guantanamo North, 3.
110 Ibid.

26

counter prison radicalization, the United States will maintain a reactive posture to
inmates returning to society who may have been exposed to radicalization during their
period of incarceration or those who entered the correctional system indoctrinated with a
radical ideology. As we prepare to compare other deradicalization / disengagement
models, it is important to explain the difference between deradicalization and
disengagement and their importance in disarming violent extremism and radicalization.
F.

DERADICALIZATION
DIFFERENCE?

OR

DISENGAGEMENT:

WHAT’S

THE

As we consider policy models that promote prison deradicalization, it is important
to distinguish between two concepts:

deradicalization and disengagement. For the

purpose of this analysis, deradicalization can be defined as a cognitive process of
rejecting and discrediting established ideological rationalizations that support violent
extremism and terrorism. Deradicalization therefore implies a cognitive change that takes
place resulting in a modification of the individual’s belief system. In other words, once a
terrorist is deradicalized, he or she no longer believes in the ideology or justification for
using violence to promote their political or religious agenda.
Disengagement is a process that results in an individual being separated,
voluntarily or involuntarily, from participating, directly or indirectly, in terrorist acts. As
Bjorgo and Horgan stated in 2009, individual disengagement should not imply
deradicalization.111 Bjorgo and Horgan make the point that individuals may walk away
from terrorism without shedding their core beliefs that justify their lethal actions.112
Horgan identifies a possible key to developing effective deradicalization strategies as
focusing on why individuals become disengaged and designing the strategy based on the
analysis.113
I would argue that most would consider prison a form of physical disengagement
although it is important to remember incarceration does not prevent inmates from
111 Bjorgo and Horgan, Leaving Terrorism Behind, 26.
112 Ibid.
113 Horgan, “Deradicalization or Disengagement?”, 27.

27

participating in terrorist activities or support and thus does not result in physical
disengagement. Consider the case of Kevin James and others who managed terrorist
activity from within their cells inside some of the most secure facilities in the United
States. Disengagement is the first step toward altering a violent mindset. Building an
effective strategy that promotes continued disengagement and eventual deradicalization
offers the best solution in fighting the lethal effects of violent radicalization.
This chapter has described the prison’s setting as a multifaceted complex
environment ripe for spreading the radicalized message. The influences of the in-groups
as well as security threat groups cannot be ignored. These groups, under the leadership of
a charismatic extremist, provide a powerful platform to motivate inmates seeking a new
identity to engage in extremist activity. Without a dependable method to screen chaplains
and religious volunteers, the prison chapel opens its doors to radical imams and clergy
seeking a captive audience. Social science research provides the building blocks for
possible solutions related to radicalization. Without more research within the prisons, we
may never fully understand the negative effects of prison on the individual and as a
result, fail in taking a proactive stance toward prison radicalization.
The next chapter will shift the focus from the environmental factors within the
correctional environment toward the individual treatment options for the radicalized
inmate. In an effort to establish a recommendation for a prison deradicalization
/disengagement model for United States correctional facilities, a comparative analysis
methodology will be used to study Singapore’s prisoner radicalization rehabilitation
program and approach to countering prisoner radicalization.

28

III.

A.

COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF SINGAPORE’S PRISON
DERADICALIZATION MODEL

RATIONALE FOR COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF SINGAPORE’S
DERADICALIZATION MODEL
In considering other countries that operated prison deradicalization programs, all

of which are predominately Middle Eastern countries, Singapore was identified as the
one country with an established program that has a minority Muslim population. Like the
United States, the most significant threats from terrorism in Singapore have developed
from Islamic radicalization.114 Although Singapore does not offer its citizens the same
civil liberty protections as the United States, Singapore does have a parliamentary
government with an established constitution and a democratic form of government. A
comparative analysis of this country’s deradicalization program will provide the best
comparison for U.S. consideration.
B.

SINGAPORE’S GOVERNMENTAL STRUCTURE
Singapore gained its independence from the Malaysian Federation on August 9,

1965 and is considered a republic with a parliamentary system of government consisting
of three branches: the executive, legislative, and judicial. Singapore’s constitution
establishes a representative democracy that forms its political system and supports its
legal system which is modeled after English Common Law.115 The executive branch of
Singapore’s government consists of the president, the cabinet, and the Attorney
General.116 As with many other parliamentary governments, the president serves in
primarily a ceremonial fashion. The cabinet, headed by the Prime Minister, along with
the various ministers who are appointed from the controlling political party, are the

114 Hassan and Pereire, “An Ideological Response,” 458.
115 Central Intelligence Agency, “East and Southeast Asia: Singapore,” The World Factbook,
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sn.html (accessed July 21, 2012).
116 “The Singapore Legal System,” Singapore Government Ministry of Law,
http://app2.mlaw.gov.sg/UsefulInfo/TheSingaporeLegalSystem/tabid/259/Default.aspx (accessed July 20,
2012).

29

primary members that control government actions.117 The judicial branch of Singapore’s
government consists of the Supreme Court and subordinate courts that rule with judicial
oversight from the Supreme Court.118
Singapore’s Minister of Home Affairs supervises the Internal Security
Department (ISD), Singapore Prison Service, Singapore Police Force as well as other
security related functions.119 The Internal Security Department of Singapore utilizes the
Internal Security Act (ISA) as a valuable tool to protect the safety and security of
Singapore’s homeland.120 ISA is an act that provides government officials with wide
discretion to enforce preventive detention (PD) without trial of individuals suspected of
terrorist activity. The ISA also affords the government the authority to enforce curfews,
control an individual’s movement, and mandate other restrictive measures such as
mandatory religious counseling, as deemed necessary by the Minister of Home Affairs to
ensure national security.121
C.

SINGAPORE’S
TERRORISM

DEFINITION

OF

TERRORIST

AND

ACTS

OF

Singapore’s definition of “terrorist” and “acts of terrorism” can be located in one
of

Singapore’s

resolutions

titled

“United Nations

(Anti-Terrorism

Measures)

Regulations.”122

117 Central Intelligence Agency, “East and Southeast Asia: Singapore.”
118 “The Singapore Legal System.”
119 “Minister of Home Affairs Home Page,” Government of Singapore,
http://www.mha.gov.sg/overview.aspx?pageid=187&secid=28 (accessed July 19, 2012).
120 Eugene K. B. Tan, “Selling Singaporeans on the ISA,” Malaysian Business, October 1, 2011, 56.
121 “Parliamentary Speech on the Internal Security Act—Speech by Mr Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime

Minister, Coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister for Home Affairs, 19 October 2011,”
Singapore Government, Minister of Home Affairs,
http://www.mha.gov.sg/news_details.aspx?nid=MjEzMg%3D%3D-as%2B9gJeLXQ0%3D (accessed July
20, 2012).

122 “United Nations Act, Chapter 339, United Nations (Anti-Terrorism Measures) Regulations” [rev
ed.], Government of Singapore, Attorney General’s Chamber, January 31, 2003,
http://statutes.agc.gov.sg/aol/search/display/view.w3p;page=0;query=CompId%3A430ea160–2360–4847–
9348a9fdf134ec20%20ValidTime%3A20120712000000%20TransactionTime%3A20120712000000;rec=0
(accessed July 26, 2012).

30

‘Terrorist’ means any person who commits, or attempts to commit, any
terrorist act; or participates in or facilitates the commission of any terrorist
act, and includes any person referred to in the schedule.
‘Terrorist act’ means the use or threat of action where the action involves
serious violence against a person; involves serious damage to property;
endangers a person’s life; creates a serious risk to the health or the safety
of the public or a section of the public; involves the use of firearms or
explosives; involves releasing into the environment or any part thereof, or
distributing or otherwise exposing the public or any part thereof to any
dangerous, hazardous, radioactive or harmful substance; any toxic
chemical; or any microbial or other biological agent, or toxin; is designed
to disrupt any public computer system or the provision of services directly
related to communications infrastructure, banking and financial services,
public utilities, public transportation or public key infrastructure; is
designed to disrupt the provision of essential emergency services such as
the police, civil defence and medical services; or involves prejudice to
public security or national defence; and where the use or threat is intended
or reasonably regarded as intending to influence the Government or any
other government; or intimidate the public or a section of the public.123
D.

SINGAPORE’S REALIZATION OF THE NEED FOR A PRISON
DERADICALIZATION MODEL
Since 9/11, the Internal Security Department has utilized the ISA to incarcerate 124

Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) suspects and other suspected terrorist supporters.125 Since 2002,
60 individuals have been detained by the Singaporean security forces acting under the
authority of the Internal Security Act.126 As recently as February 2012, Singapore has
utilized the ISA to detain suspected terrorists. Between January and February 2012,
Sahrudin bin Mohd Sapian, Mohamed Rafee bin Abdul Rahman, and Abd Rahim bin
Abdul Rahman, three JI members who had fled Singapore in December 2001, were
arrested on foreign soil and returned to Singapore authorities.127 Under the auspice of
protecting national security, the ISA allows immediate preventative detention with an
123 “United Nations Act, Chapter 339.”
124 Note: throughout this paper, the term detainee and inmate will have the same meaning.

Incarceration and detention both will refer to the confinement of an individual in the penal system.
125 Tan, “Selling Singaporeans on the ISA,” 56.
126 “Parliamentary Speech on the Internal Security Act.”
127 “Ministry of Home Affairs: Update on Terrorism-Related Arrest/Detention/Release under the
Internal Security Act,” Singapore Government News, March 16, 2012.

31

advisory board review by the third month of detention.128 Continued detention should
not extend beyond two years without judicial review by an advisory board chaired by a
Supreme Court judge and approval of the president.129 The president, as the senior
government representative, has veto power over the advisory board and ultimate authority
regarding the decision to enforce long-term preventative detention. The Internal Security
Department (ISD), under the supervision of the Minister of Home Affairs (MHA),
reviews detention and restriction orders annually to determine if the orders are still
necessary.130
Undetected by the government of Singapore, Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a militant
Islamist group with strong ties to al Qaeda and dedicated to establishing a caliphate in
Southeast Asia, infiltrated Singapore in early 2001. In December 2001 and August 2002,
the Internal Security Department (ISD) of Singapore, utilizing the Internal Security Act
(ISA), placed 31 individuals, identified as Jemaah Islamiyah members, under detention
for planning terrorist activity inside Singapore’s borders.131 JI members had developed
plans for bombing foreign embassies and mass transit systems within Singapore.132
Recognizing that Islamic radicalization had infiltrated segments of Singapore’s Muslim
community, the government called on the Muslim community, especially the country’s
Islamic leadership, to help develop an ideological response to counter the ill-advised
ideological motivated extremist who plotted terrorism within the country. 133 The Islamic
Religious Council of Singapore, leaders of the Khadijah Mosque, and the president of
PERGAS (as association of religious teachers and Islamic scholars from Singapore) were
contacted by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to evaluate the intelligence collected
128 Tan, “Selling Singaporeans on the ISA,” 56.
129 “Parliamentary Speech on the Internal Security Act.”
130 Report on a Conference Organized by the International Centre for Political Violence and
Terrorism Research, International Conference on Terrorist Rehabilitation, of the S.Rajarathnam School of
International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and the Religious Rehabilitation
Group (RRG), Singapore: S. Rajarathnam School of International Studies, 2009,
http://www.pvtr.org/pdf/Report/RSIS_ICTR_Report_2009.pdf (accessed September 22, 2012).
131 Hassan and Pereire, “An Ideological Response,” 460.
132 Albert Chua, “Southeast Asia Challenges in Countering the Appeal of Terrorism,” presented at

Seminar on Dialogue, Understanding and Countering the Appeal of Terrorism, New York, June 27, 2012.
133 Hassan and Pereire, “An Ideological Response.” 461.

32

from initial interviews of the JI detainees.134 In April 2003, the Religious Rehabilitation
Group (RRG), a group of Islamic leaders, scholars, and teachers who volunteer their time
and resources, was developed to assist the government in establishing a holistic approach
in countering the misguided ideology that had invaded the country of Singapore.135
E.

SINGAPORE’S
STRUCTURE

RELIGIOUS

REHABILITATION

GROUP

(RRG)

The organizational structure of the RRG consists of three organizational divisions.
The administrative oversight and leadership of the group consist of two co-chairmen. The
co-chairmen are responsible for program implementation and nominating potential RRG
members.136 The Resource Group of the RRG consist of a group of Islamic scholars,
both in Islamic religion and law, that provides guidance and instruction related to the
mission of the RRG.137 The Secretariat positions serve as coordinators of counseling
schedules, conducts research and assist in administrative affairs among other duties. The
largest component of the RRG is the religious counselors. This group directly engages the
inmates, as well as the public, in strategic discourse to promote disengagement and
deradicalization.
1.

RRG’s Counseling Program

The cornerstone of the Religious Rehabilitation Group’s philosophy of reeducating misguided Islamic extremist (JI members) is the RRG Counseling Program.
The RRG counseling program, originally formed in January 2004, consists of
28 counselors,138 four of whom are Ustazaat (female religious teachers). The RRG
volunteer their time to provide religious rehabilitation counseling to inmates as well as
community members. This counseling cadre is made up of a multi-faceted group of
134 Mohamed Feisal Mohamed Hassan, “The Roles of Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG) in

Singapore,” Religious Rehabilitation Group, 2008, http://rrg.sg/edisi/data/The_roles_of_RRG.pdf (accessed
September 17, 2012).
135 Hassan and Pereire, “An Ideological Response,” 461.
136 Hassan, The Roles of Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG) in Singapore, 4.
137 Ibid.
138 “Religious Rehabilitation Group website,” http://www.rrg.sg/subindex.asp?id=A221_07 (accessed
April 2, 2012).

33

Islamic scholars and educated leaders from the Islamic community. The Religious
Rehabilitation Group (RRG) continually provides ongoing educational opportunities that
focus on effective counseling techniques and counseling psychology that provides current
strategy to fight the radical ideology forming the basis and rationalization of the terrorist
mindset.139

Two religious counseling manuals have been developed to assist the

counselors in performing their duties.
In a June 4, 2009 article with the Straits Times, RRG Chairman, Ustaz Ali
Mohamed indicated the latest 2009 manual, a three section, 220-page document based on
more than 1000 detainee interviews, reflects the ongoing analysis and strategic planning
designed to ensure current ideological counter measures are maintained and implemented
in the deradicalization program.140 The latest manual that targets the radicalization
process and motive of hate consists of three sections. Section one provides guidance
related to detainees developing coping skills that help with “real-life” issues and the need
to find a moderate approach in adjusting to modern society. The second examines often
misunderstood concepts such as takfir (labeling someone a non-believer and the
justification for killing the individual in the name of Islamic duty). The third section
provides instruction for handling violent behavior and hatred that is often experienced
after being exposed to a perverted interpretation of radical religious indoctrination.141
The RRG’s Counseling Program focuses on four specific stages in countering the
radical extremist mindset of the detainees.142 The first stage consists of the counselor
interviewing the inmate to recognize radical ideologies and incorrect interpretations of
Islamic concepts. This stage provides the counselor the insight into what is the basis or
justification for the inmate’s actions. Next, the counselor discredits all radical and
extremist views. This stage of counseling provides the inmate with valid justifications

139 Hassan, “The Roles of Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG) in Singapore,” 6.
140 Zakir Hussain, “New Manual to Counter Extremist Ideas; Second Guide Deals with Islamic
Radicals’ Real-Life Issues and Beliefs,” The Straits Times [Singapore], June 4, 2009.
141 Ibid.
142 “Religious Rehabilitation Group website;” “About RRG,” Religious Rehabilitation Group, 2012,
http://www.rrg.sg/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3:about-rrg&catid=3:aboutus&Itemid=2 (accessed April 2, 2012).

34

why violent extremism must be avoided. In the third stage, incorrect interpretations of
Islamic doctrine or radical ideologies are replaced by moderate, Islamic interpretations.
Using his or her status as a trained religious scholar, the counselor helps establish a new
interpretation of Islamic doctrine that contradicts the inmate’s previous violent, extremist
mindset. The last stage of the counseling process includes an overview and emphasis on a
moderate interpretation of the Holy Quran and how to live in a society that is filled with
diversity and secularism.143
2.

RRG Enhancing Prisoner Deradicalization
Community

by Engaging the

Believing you can change the mindset of the prisoner without engaging the public
and the family members of the prisoner would be a serious misconception. The RRG and
the government of Singapore came to a realization early in this process that correcting the
violent, extremist mindset of the JI members accomplished only half the goal of
protecting Singapore from terrorism. There was a minority Muslim population, many of
which were suffering from the detention of the family’s financial supporter, and a group
of youth particularly vulnerable to socioeconomic factors and susceptible to Islamic
radicalization that required the attention of the RRG.144
At the 2009 International Conference on Terrorist Rehabilitation, the Director of
Internal Security for Singapore discussed the government’s response to the threat of
community radicalization.145 In a brief taken from the meeting, the director
acknowledged the Singapore government was very concerned about the JI family
members.146 The government feared the JI family members would take up the fight once
their family members became incarcerated, thus creating a “second generation” of JI
terrorists. The government and the Muslim community realized providing a degree of
social support would serve a twofold purpose. Social assistance from the Muslim

143 “Religious Rehabilitation Group Website.”
144 Hassan and Pereire, An Ideological Response,” 463.
145 Report on a Conference Organized by the International Centre, 30.
146 Ibid.

35

community, coordinated by the Aftercare Group of the RRG,147 provided detainee family
members a support option other than relying on the JI extremist network for assistance.
Secondly, by assisting family members with social assistance, in the detainees are
instilled with a sense of obligation to the Muslim community and the RRG. This will
develop a sense of loyalty and willingness to cooperate with rehabilitation and accept the
error of their ways.148
The director acknowledged not everyone in the community believed the program
would be productive. He acknowledged the fact that some terrorists would never accept a
moderate, non-violent view of their ideology and some terrorist, even though they may
accept and participate in rehabilitation programming, would never be released from
custody. The director believed that by the public witnessing the seminars, social
assistance, and community engagement carried out by the Muslim community instead of
the government that public skepticism would be reduced, thus making the programs more
appealing to the community.149
3.

Internal Security Department’s
Collaboration with RRG

(Singapore

Prison

System)

At the 2009 International Conference on Terrorist Rehabilitation, the Director for
Internal Security explained the process of reviewing detainees prior to custodial
release.150 A comprehensive review is completed regarding the inmate’s progress in the
rehabilitation program prior to release. A review of the inmate’s initial indoctrination and
level of involvement in the terrorist organization is a consideration. Multiple sources of
information from “case officers, religious counselors, prison wardens, psychologists and
research analysts” are provided to the (ISD) for consideration in determining the need for
continued detention or restrictive orders after release.

147 Report on a Conference Organized by the International Centre, 30.
148 Hassan and Pereire, “An Ideological Response,” 463.
149 Report on a Conference Organized by the International Centre, 30.
150 Ibid.

36

After release from custody but while inmates are still under restrictive orders
(RO) by the authority of the Internal Security Act, the ISD takes a very proactive role
along with the RRG to ensure aftercare counseling. The aftercare group of the RRG
serves may roles in providing social services to released inmates as well as the inmates’
families. Restrictive orders are usually issued to ensure continued monitoring of the exinmates by their respective religious counselor, ISA officers, and support group.151 This
governmental power that requires inmates to obtain continued counseling and
rehabilitation after release is similar to the United States use of probation and parole
restrictions. U.S. inmates can be released from confinement to probation or parole
supervision and required to attend specified treatment programs such as drug and alcohol
treatment. One major difference would be that in Singapore, detention orders (DO) and
restriction orders (RO) can be implemented and enforced with very little due process and
without conviction or trial.152
F.

INTERNAL SECURITY DEPARTMENT’S (PRISON SERVICES) ROLE
IN PRISONER DERADICALIZATION
Individuals being detained by detention orders or incarceration due to a

conviction of a criminal offense are under the supervision of the Internal Security
Department or more specifically the Singapore Prison Services (SPS). Singapore Prison
Service reported in a February 1, 2012 on-line memorandum the total prison population
on December 31, 2011 as 10,028 inmates.153 I was unable to determine how many of
these individuals were incarcerated for terrorist-related crimes or whether any of the
inmates were being held on detention orders. Singapore Prison Services reported that
215 inmates are incarcerated for “Crime against Public Order”;154 however, the document
provided no verification that inmates who were convicted or being held in detention for
terrorism related activity were included in this category. The SPS reported a recidivism
151 Report on a Conference Organized by the International Centre, 30.
152“Parliamentary Speech on the Internal Security Act.”
153 Singapore Prison Service, “2012 Singapore Prison Service Annual Statistics Release,” 2012,
http://www.prisons.gov.sg/content/dam/sps/publication_latest/2012%20Prisons%20Annual%20Statistics%
20Release%201%20Feb%202012.pdf (accessed October 30, 2012).
154 Ibid.

37

rate of 26.7 percent for the release cohort of 2009, which reflected a decline from 27.3
percent for the year ending 2008.155

The SPS defined the recidivism rate as, “the

percentage of local inmates detained, convicted and imprisoned again for a new offence
within two years from their release.”156
Providing deradicalization services to inmates under detention orders and
conviction offers another example of the collaborative effort from the RRG and the ISA.
The attempt to reprogram the mindset of the detainees takes on a three part process
consisting

of

psychological

rehabilitation,

religious

rehabilitation,

and

social

rehabilitation.157 During the psychological rehabilitation phase, psychologist routinely
counsel with inmates in an attempt to assess the inmate’s progress in the cognitive
process of reshaping their mindset to a non-violent ideology. One of the first changes
experienced by the detainees and witnessed by the counselors is a reflection on the past
actions as well as the consequences for those actions.158 The next observed change is the
“re-evaluation of their environment when radicalized individuals realize that they have
wrongly assumed their actions are supported by the community at large.”159 In the final
stage of rehabilitation, the inmate realizes and recalls his path to radicalization and
understands the misconceptions that led to his indoctrination into a radical mindset that
promoted violence. The ISD officer who spoke at the international conference on
terrorism rehabilitation stated, “In all these stages, there is cognitive restructuring, where
the detainees are made to gradually learn—from psychologists—how to manage emotion
and develop the capacity to objectively frame global events.”160
Another stage in the rehabilitation process involves the religious counseling
program for the detainees. The religious counseling component of the program is

155 Singapore Prison Service, “2012 Singapore Prison Service.”
156 Ibid.
157 Report on a Conference Organized by the International Centre, 31.
158 Ibid.
159 Ibid.
160 Ibid.

38

conducted primarily by the RRG’s religious counselors.161 Acting independent of the
government and armed with the education and legitimacy that, in most cases, is
recognized by the detainees, the counselors begin an intensive four-step process of
intensive dialogue to reshape and change the violent mindset of the inmate.162 This
religious counseling phase allows for mutual debate and dialogue in an attempt to rectify
any and all ideological misconceptions that promote violence and extremism.
The last stage of the rehabilitation program, social rehabilitation, extends beyond
the perimeter of the prison by offering social support and integrating the non-violent
message of Islam into the community. The ISD work hand-in-hand with the Aftercare
Group of the RRG to provide financial support to families in an attempt to ensure a
smooth transition from prison to the community.163 The ISD provide opportunities for
detainee family members to visit with detainees to help maintain the family structure thus
providing additional emotional support for the inmate once released. By providing
financial and social support, the ISD believe inmates can be totally focused on
rehabilitation and cooperating with investigations.164 Vocational training is provided to
help ensure the inmate develops a means of financial stability once released.165
The ISD reports that not every case is a success for rehabilitation. Some JI
members refuse to accept the Muslim community’s non-violent interpretation of Islam
and see Muslims who believe in secularism and tolerance as infidels. These inmates who
are non-compliant with rehabilitation take every opportunity to reiterate their position
when meeting with counselors. In 2009, the RRG reported more than 1,200 counseling
sessions with detainees, those under orders of restriction by the ISD, and more than
130 sessions provided for detainee’s family members.166

161 Report on a Conference Organized by the International Centre, 31.
162 “Religious Rehabilitation Group Website.”
163 Hassan, “The Roles of Religious Rehabilitation Group,” 10; Report on a Conference Organized by
the International Centre, 31.
164 Ibid.
165 Ibid.
166 Ibid., 32.

39

G.

CONSTITUTIONAL
CONSIDERATIONS

ISSUES

AND

ORGANIZATIONAL

POLICY

The implementation of a deradicalization model that officially challenges an
individual’s ideological beliefs will inevitably result in First Amendment legal
challenges. I am not qualified to provide a legal opinion regarding the legality of such a
model or if volunteers providing such a program would be any different than the current
religious volunteer programs that are in place in almost every correctional facility in the
country. Currently, the BOP trains chaplains to monitor religious services and provides
manuals that dictate “appropriate religious service procedures and behaviors.”167 I agree
with this procedure as there is a vested interest in ensuring any religious interpretation is
not used to justify a violent action. Providing incentives for program participation that
affect the inmate’s sentence structure, program assignment, or living conditions will also
inevitably face legal challenges.

167 Committee on Homeland Security, Radicalization, 5.

40

IV.

A.

COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF SAUDI ARABIA’S PRISON
DERADICALIZATION MODEL
RATIONALE FOR COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF SAUDI ARABIA’S
DERADICALIZATION MODEL
Although the government structure and laws of Saudi Arabia in no way represent

or resemble that of the United States, Saudi Arabia has initiated one of the most intensive
counter terrorism campaigns that includes a rigorous deradicalization initiative geared
toward Islamic radicals. Recognizing the promise of engaging detainees with counter
dialogue that discredits and neutralizes violent rationalizations, U.S. General Douglas
Stone, in a June 2008 briefing to the Defense Department, provided details how he
studied the Saudi deradicalization program to develop the detainee program employed by
Task Force 134 in Iraq.168 General Stone referenced the program’s success by providing
impressive recidivism rates of approximately six percent for Iraqi detainee releases.169
The Saudi program has been recognized by multiple international agencies as well as
other governments that are dedicated to strong counter terrorism measures as being an
effective program for countering violent Islamic radicalization.170
B.

SAUDI ARABIA’S GOVERNMENT STRUCTURE
Home to the two most revered shrines known in Islam, Mecca and Medina, Saudi

Arabia is considered the birthplace of Islam.171 Saudi Arabia has a government ruled by
a monarchy with its capital located in Riyadh. King Abdallah bin Abd al-Aziz, Saudi’s
current king and male descendent of Abd Al-Aziz bin Abd al-Rahman Al Saud who
founded Saudi Arabia in 1932, rules the kingdom. The king’s official title, “Custodian of
168 “Defense Department Briefing with Major General Douglas Stone , U.S. Marine Corps Reserve,
Outgoing Commanding General, Task Force 134, Multinational Force Iraq; Subject: Detainee Operations;
Location: The Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia,” Federal News Service, sec. Department Defense Briefing,
June 9, 2008, 8.
169 Ibid. 10.
170 “Saudi Arabia: The World’s Finest in Counter-Terrorism,” Asharq Alawsat [English], May 2,

2012.
171 Central Intelligence Agency, “Middle East: Saudi Arabia,” The World Factbook,
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sa.html (accessed August 13, 2012).

41

the Two Holy Mosques,” provides insight related to the dominant role of the Islamic
religion in the government structure of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia, officially referred to
as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is composed of 13 provinces. Saudi Arabia’s
constitution, although written as an official constitution, is literally Islamic (Sharia) law
and the Quran.172 The executive branch consists of the king who also serves as the Prime
Minister rules the government. The heir to the king, Salman bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud,
serves the king as Deputy Prime Minister as of June 2012.173 Saudi Arabia’s cabinet
members consists of a council of 22 ministers, many are relatives of the king, and
appointed every four years.174 The ministers assist the king with the policy development
and oversight of the different areas of governmental affairs.175
In recognizing the relevance to radicalization as well as the factors that promote
an individual to engage in deradicalization efforts, it is important to acknowledge the
alliance between the al-Saud family, its allies, and the al-Sheikh family. Albeit within the
House of Saud lies the complete establishment of Saudi rule, the establishment of
religious legitimacy is found within the continued alliance with the al-Sheikh family, who
are the descendants of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahab.176 Establishing and maintaining
religious legitimacy, which is the rigorous Wahhabist interpretation of Sunni Islam, is
essential to maintaining social control and political dominance. This ultra-conservative
interpretation of Sunni Islam provides the framework for the Kingdom’s policies and
provides the stage for inevitable conflict and Islamic radicalization.177
C.

SAUDI ARABIA’S LEGAL SYSTEM AND ATTEMPT TO CODIFY
TERRORISM LAWS
The Kingdom’s legal system is based predominantly on Islamic law, although it

has recently witnessed the introduction of secular codes and the use of committees to
172 Central Intelligence Agency, “East and Southeast Asia: Singapore.”
173 Ibid.
174 Ibid.
175 “Terrorism Bill Will Keep Tensions High,” Saudi Arabia Business Forecast Report, October 1,

2011.
176 Email discussions with Professor Nadav Morag, Naval Postgraduate School, August 21, 2012.
177 J. F. Seznec, “Stirrings in Saudi Arabia,” Journal of Democracy 13, no. 4 (2002), 33–34.

42

litigate commercial issues.178

In 2002, Saudi Arabia codified a “Law of Criminal

Procedure” (LCP) that provided a guide for legal procedure and limited individual rights.
The LCP, consisting of 225 articles, covers issues such as rights to legal counsel and
privacy issues, legal justifications to search and seizure as well as specific regulations
related to timelines for detention and subsequently issuing criminal charges. It is
important to note that although this procedure provides limited legal rights, the judicial
and governmental enforcement officers are given broad judgment related to the
interpretation of Sharia law and their interpretation of individual actions that meet their
own definition of a violated crime.
In an attempt to define and codify the criminal violation and definition of
terrorism, the Saudi government has received criticism from civil rights groups. The new
security law has been criticized as being indistinct and expansive. Amnesty International
received a leaked version of the proposed law in 2011 and called into question the intent
and legitimacy of the proposed law. Amnesty reports the anti-terrorism law would place
harsh penalties on anyone who questions the government’s actions or criticizes the
government’s leadership.179 The proposed law, according to Amnesty International,
permits indefinite detainment for suspects and provides the Minister of the Interior
massive latitude in ordering warrantless wire taps on personal phones as well as
warrantless searches of individual’s personal property and homes.180
The motives of this proposed law have also been called into question. Critics have
alleged the new law as being used as a tool to “legally” crush any attempt to challenge
the governments’ motives or express dissent.181 Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International

178 Central Intelligence Agency, “Middle East: Saudi Arabia.”
179 Amnesty International, “Annual Report 2012, Saudi Arabia,” 2012,

http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/saudi-arabia/report-2012 (accessed August 15, 2012).
180 Ibid.
181 “Amnesty Criticizes Draft Saudi Security Law,” BBC Monitoring Middle East—Political Supplied
by BBC Worldwide Monitoring, December 1, 2011.

43

Middle East and North Africa Director, accuses the Saudi government of “adding insult
to injury by curtailing freedoms in the name of countering terrorism.”182
D.

SAUDI ARABIA’S REALIZATION OF THE NEED FOR A PRISON DERADICALIZATION PROGRAM
Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam and home to the two most holy mosques for

Muslims, has experienced its share of Islamic terrorism. Al-Qaeda’s lethal actions of
targeting visitors to Saudi Arabia and killing them, often in public venues, can be traced
back to 1995.183 These terrorist attacks became more prevalent and aggressive by 2003,
including attacks on the royal regime as well as indiscriminate attacks on the population,
including bombings within the capital city of Riyadh.184 By 2004, 22 incidents of violent
extremism had claimed the lives of 90 civilians and produced massive numbers of injured
Saudis.185 The Kingdom was under siege, and it was evident that Islamic terrorists,
fueled by violent Islamic ideologies, would continue their murderous acts pending some
type of intervention.
With a massive wave of public repugnance for the indiscriminate terrorist acts,
the Kingdom embarked on a creative counter terror program that would target the
foundation of Al Qaeda’s violent ideology and extend an offer of reprieve.186 The Saudi
government initiated an aggressive detainment campaign to remove Al Qaeda terrorist
from the Saudi population. An initial offer of amnesty was made accessible to any
terrorist who would surrender, renounce their ideologies and accept the state sponsored
version of Islam.187 According to Henry, the offer of amnesty produced a cadre of
terrorist supporters—jihadists as well as al-Qaeda leaders who had in the past avoided

182 “Saudi Arabia Blocks Amnesty International website,” BBC Monitoring World Media Supplied by
BBC Worldwide Monitoring July 27, 2011.
183 Terrence Henry, “Get Out of Jihad Free,” The Atlantic Monthly, June 2007, 39.
184 Christopher Boucek, “Extremist Reeducation and Rehabilitation in Saudi Arabia,” Terrorism
Monitor 5, no. 16 (2007).
185 Henry, “Get Out of Jihad Free,” 39–40.
186 Ibid.
187 Boucek, “Extremist Reeducation;” Henry, “Get Out of Jihad Free,” 39–40.

44

capture but now laid down their bombs and accepted the state’s offer.188 With a large
prison population of Islamic terrorist who indiscriminately label other Muslims as
apostates (takfir) or unbelievers and use this as a justification to kill in the name of Islam,
the Kingdom embarked on a program designed to target this perverted ideology by
challenging their interpretations of the Quran.189
E.

SAUDI ARABIA’S PRISON DERADICALIZATION PROGRAM
In response to the death and destruction at the hands of the Islamic terrorists,

Saudi officials launched a non-publicized deradicalization effort dubbed the “Advisory
Committee Counseling Program” in 2004.190

The program, originally designed to

address only the needs of terrorist supporters while considering those with “blood on
their hands” as being not appropriate for rehabilitation,191 has refocused its efforts to
provide rehabilitative services to detainees returning from Iraq and Guantanamo. 192 In
2010, the “intensive program” reportedly conducted at nine of the 13 security prisons
throughout Saudi Arabia had an operating budget of between 40 and 50 million
dollars.193
In 2008, Christopher Boucek reported the Kingdom was opening five new
prisons, each designed for the rehabilitation and counseling of Muslim extremist.194
These facilities built in Riyadh, Qassim, Abha, Dammam, and Jiddah were constructed to
facilitate the design of the Saudi deradicalization program. Each prison, designed to
house approximately 1,200 inmates, contains individual rooms that allow for the
188 Henry, “Get Out of Jihad Free,” 39–40.
189 Horgan and Braddock, “Rehabilitating the Terrorists?” 276; Boucek, “Extremist Reeducation.”
190 Ibid.
191 Marisa L. Porges, The Saudi Deradicalization Experiment (Washington, DC: Council on Foreign
Relations, 2010), http://www.cfr.org/terrorism/saudi-deradicalization-experiment/p21292 (accessed
November 23, 2012); Bjorgo and Horgan, Leaving Terrorism Behind, 213.
192 Sudarsan Raghavan and Peter Finn, “U.S. Sees Saudi Program as an Option for Detainees,” The
Washington Post, October 14, 2009.
193 “EXCLUSIVE: Former Gitmo Prisoner, Rehabilitated in Saudi Arabia, May Soon be Released,”
Fox News, sec. World News, February 18, 2010.
194 Christopher Boucek, “Jailing Jihadis: Saudi Arabia’s Special Terrorist Prisons,” Terrorism
Monitor 6, no. 2 (2008).

45

segregation of radicals and the reduction of prisoner radicalization within the inmate
population. Recognizing the possibility of an outside militant attack, the al-Ha’ir facility
located south of Riyadh, has a refined security system to help prevent against terrorist
attacks and intrusions. Sophisticated video technology is utilized to allow counseling
sessions to be broadcast throughout parts of the facility and provide for direct observation
from authorities as well as government officials who elect to monitor the activity within
the facility. The facility is designed with multiple conference rooms to permit group
counseling sessions and lectures as well as single rooms that allow for private session.
Every aspect of the facility’s design is modeled toward the deradicalization efforts of the
Kingdom.
Oversight of the deradicalization program was placed under the supervision of the
3rd highest ranking government official in Saudi Arabia, the Minister of the Interior.195
The program’s structure (see Figure 3) is designed around an “Advisory Committee”
structured from four subcommittees (Religious, Psychological and Social, Security, and
Media) each with specific responsibilities that focus on removing the violent religious
ideologies used to rationalize terrorist activity.196

Figure 3.

Saudi Arabia’s Prison Advisory Committee

195 Bjorgo and Horgan, Leaving Terrorism Behind, 217.
196 Ibid., 217.

46

1.

Advisory Committee

Serving as the administrative arm of the Minister of Interior for matters related to
the Saudi deradicalization program, the Advisory Committee coordinates the activities
and personnel that perform the various functions of the deradicalization program. Based
in Riyadh and with committee members maintaining permanent residents throughout the
country, the advisory committee takes great care in vetting potential counselors, clerics,
and religious leaders who play specific roles in different area of rehabilitation.197 Careful
attention is given to selecting individuals who have the ability to engage detainees in
spirited dialogue and introduce the government’s opinion that, because of a
misinterpretation of Islamic text or law, the detainee wrongfully participated in acts of
terrorism.198
As rumors of prisoner abuse grew within the Kingdom, the Minister of the
Interior called on clerics, many of whom were skeptical of the governments’ intentions,
to visit the prisons and to observe the living conditions and the efforts to rehabilitate the
inmates being held as security risk.199

As evidence that rehabilitation was more

important that retribution, in some instances, the government permitted high profile
extremist to bypass incarceration and move directly into the program’s community
treatment phase.200 These actions and by permitting the clerics to visit prisons and report
their findings back to the communities, the program’s credibility began to establish itself
with the community as well as the individuals who the program was targeted.
The program is based on benevolence, not retribution, and has been referred to by
many as a “soft approach”201 or “soft power”202 to fighting terrorism. The inmate or
extremist is considered to have been “misled” or to have made an incorrect interpretation

197 Bjorgo and Horgan, Leaving Terrorism Behind, 218.
198 Oxford Analytica Daily Brief Service, International: Terrorists can be Rehabilitated (United
Kingdom: Oxford Analytica Daily Brief Service, 2010).
199 Bjorgo and Horgan, Leaving Terrorism Behind, 215.
200 Boucek, Saudi Arabia’s “Soft” Counterterrorism Strategy. 55.
201 Porges, The Saudi Deradicalization Experiment. 2.
202 Susan Mohammad, “To Deprogram a Jihadist,” Maclean’s, February 9, 2009, 30.

47

of the religious text within the Quran. The inmate is considered a victim rather than a
criminal. The Advisory Committee, much like the RRG in Singapore, realized to
effectively engage the jihadists, an understanding of their mindset, religious education,
and other social factors was necessary. According to Boucek, almost every security
prisoner participating in the program did not have a religious education as a child.203
According to Boucek, the committee reported most of the detainees were young, lowerto middle-class and members of large families consisting of seven to 15 siblings.204
Boucek reported the committee found most of the youth “had been radicalized through
extremist books, tapes, videos and more recently the Internet.”205 The committee’s
report indicated that for the most part their parents were found to possess a low level of
education and one-third of the detainees had participated in Jihad in Afghanistan,
Somalia, or Chechnya.206 One of the most telling results from the research was the
common theme that developed, which indicated that most of the participants had very
little understanding of religious matters and a distorted understanding of Islam.207 These
results somewhat correlate with the characteristics of other individuals held as security
detainees in Iraq.208
The Advisory Committee serves as an important role in presenting the program as
a positive and validated program to the public as well as the inmates that the program
serves.209 Boucek explained how, “several former militant figures” helped facilitate
portions of the program.210

By the former militant’s participation, a sense of

legitimization is awarded to the program by the inmates.211 It is common for members of
the committee or representatives from the Minister of Interior’s (MOI) office to attend
203 Bjorgo and Horgan, Leaving Terrorism Behind, 215.
204 Ibid., 215.
205 Ibid., 216.
206 Ibid., 215.
207 Ibid.
208 “Defense Department Briefing.” 4.
209 Bjorgo and Horgan, Leaving Terrorism Behind, 217.
210 Ibid.
211 Ibid., 216.

48

public meetings or social events to promote the message of the program, which is
essentially the message of the Kingdom. As with the Singapore program, promoting the
government’s message of peace and religious rehabilitation is not exclusive to the prison
population. The Saudi program reaches out to the inmate’s family members and the
Muslim community at large although the major focus on rehabilitation begins with the
Religious Subcommittee’s interaction with the individual inmate.
2.

Religious Subcommittee Framework

The Religious Subcommittee collectively represents the largest of the four
subcommittees that formulate the Advisory Committee Counseling Program.212

As

reported by Christopher Boucek in 2007, the Religious Subcommittee is composed of
approximately 150 Muslim clerics, Islamic scholars, and professors who are responsible
for engaging the inmates in a non-intrusive manner to encourage the dialogue. Having the
luxury of an abundance of religious scholars and clerics, Saudi Arabia has no trouble
finding individuals to provide the counseling and religious education to the inmate
population. It is important to mention that many of the Religious Subcommittee remains
in contact with inmates and provides a support network once the inmate is released from
custody.213 Some clerics choose to keep their participation in the program secret and
shun the recognition that could be associated with the program. 214 As Boucek indicates,
these clerics express a conviction of receiving the recognition of God for their service and
to publicize such work would only destroy their deeds. There are also those who
participate in the program yet choose to remain surreptitious out of fear of retaliation or
exclusion from their own groups.215 Unlike the Singapore counseling program, the
Advisory Committee does not publically disclose the names of counselors.

212 Bjorgo and Horgan, Leaving Terrorism Behind, 217.
213 Ibid., 218–219.
214 Ibid., 218.
215 Ibid.

49

3.

Saudi Arabia’s Counseling Process

As with the Singapore program, the counseling program is the crux of the Saudi
prison deradicalization program. Officially referred to as “beneficiaries,”216 the inmates
are approached in a non-authoritative manner by religious scholars and clerics who
initiate a conversation with the inmates related to the inmate’s religious understandings
and beliefs.217 During these initial conversations, one of the counselor’s goals is to
ensure the inmate understands that the counselor is not an employee of the Minister of
Interior nor does he work for the security forces but that he is a reputable cleric,
psychologist, or trained religious scholar who is interested in helping the inmate.218
These initial counseling sessions, each designed to last approximately two hours, 219 are
designed to build a sense of trust and hopefully ensure a more open and honest dialogue
that will uncover the inmate’s rationale for his actions. In the initial phase of the
counseling program, the government sponsored version of Islam is introduced along with
references from the Quran that support the argument.220 To be considered successful in
the program, the inmate must renounce their affiliations with terrorist groups.221 If the
attempt to dialogue with the inmate fails or the inmate simply refuses to speak to the
counselor, the inmate may request to speak to another counselor.
In a 2008 Christian Science Monitor article, Khalid al-Hubayshi, an exGuantanamo prisoner describes his experience with the Saudi program as a “mix of
forgiveness, theological reeducation, psychological counseling, prison time, and cash.”222
Hubayshi confirms the counseling sessions as being an opportunity to explain your
beliefs and then receive an explanation that elucidates their misconceptions.223 In the
216 Porges, The Saudi Deradicalization Experiment. 3.
217 Bjorgo and Horgan, Leaving Terrorism Behind, 308.
218 Boucek, “Extremist Reeducation;” Bjorgo and Horgan, Leaving Terrorism Behind, 221.
219 Ibid., 221.
220 Ibid.
221 Horgan and Braddock, “Rehabilitating the Terrorists?” 278.
222 Caryle Murphy, “Saudis Use Cash and Counseling to Fight Terrorism,” Christian Science Monitor,

sec. World, August 20, 2008.
223 Idid.

50

above referenced 2008 article, Cleric Abdel Aziz al-Hileyl, a counselor with the Saudi
program, was quoted as saying, “Our Main goal is to open their minds and to correct their
thoughts. We teach them to be in the middle of Islam.”224
The second part of the counseling program consists of group study sessions that
are designed for a six-week program. Approximately 20 detainees participate in each
class, which is built around the concept of spirited dialogue and debate. In a Terrorism
Monitor article, Christopher Boucek described how two clerics and a social scientist lead
the instructions on subjects such as “takfir, walaah (loyalty), and bayat (allegiance),
terrorism, jihad and psychological courses on self-esteem.”225

The detainees are

schooled on avoiding misleading teachings or literature that promotes violence or
ideological misconceptions.226 It is important to recognize the concepts taught are those
supported and approved by the Kingdom. Although the counselors present themselves as
independent of the government, it seems unrealistic to believe that autonomous
instructions would be possible in the program. At the end of the program’s second phase
an exam is provided. The “beneficiaries” are required to pass the exam prior to
graduating to the next phase where the inmates (if eligible for release) are relocated to
community counseling centers.
4.

Psychological and Social Subcommittee Framework/Social Support

The Psychological and Social Subcommittee consists of more than four dozen
psychologists, psychiatrists and social scientists.227 This subcommittee plays a dual role
in assisting the inmates with the religious rehabilitation process. Psychologists and
psychiatrists regularly observe counseling sessions, especially during the six-week
program, to evaluate the inmate’s progress in the program and to make clinical
observations regarding the mental status of the inmate. As Boucek points out, on some

224 Murphy, “Saudis Use Cash.”
225 Boucek, “Extremist Reeducation;” 24.
226 Boucek, Saudi Arabia’s “Soft” Counterterrorism Strategy, 17.
227 Bjorgo and Horgan, Leaving Terrorism Behind, 217.

51

occasions counselors may become too involved with a particular inmate’s situation to
make an objective determination as to the inmate’s sincerity and genuine involvement in
the program.228
Much like Singapore’s program, the Saudi program places great emphasis on
providing social support not only for the inmate but also his family, who may experience
extreme hardships due to the incarceration of the family’s primary supporter.229 As
mentioned earlier, the government understands the integrity of the program is essential
for its success. By providing social support to family members, the government extends a
good will gesture and helps prevent the radicalization of family members. The message
that the extremist groups have no personal interest in the welfare of its members or the
member’s family is a strong motivator for the inmate participants. Khalid Al Hubayshi, a
Guantanamo inmate who returned to Saudi and successfully completed the program,
reported receiving $800 in monthly allowances along with a Toyota Corolla and $20,000
to pay for an upcoming marriage.230 The Saudi government encourages the inmates to
marry as promoting a stable lifestyle and responsibility to the family structure which
promotes disengagement.231 Many inmates who have graduated from the program praise
the government’s effort and attribute their success to the assistance provided by the Saudi
government and the counseling program.232
5.

Security Subcommittee Framework

I would describe the Security Subcommittee as similar to the classification
committee found in most United States correctional systems. The primary goal of the
Security Subcommittee is to determine the risk associated with each prisoner and make
recommendations regarding release and supervision.233 Although much of their work
228 Bjorgo and Horgan, Leaving Terrorism Behind, 218.
229 Murphy, “Saudis Use Cash,” 1.
230 Ibid.
231 Bjorgo and Horgan, Leaving Terrorism Behind, 217.
232 Sonia Verma, “Terrorists ‘Cured’ with Cash, Cars and Counselling; Controversial Saudi Rehab

Program Aims to Reform Jihadists Returning from U.S. Prisons,” The Globe and Mail [Canada], Sec.
International News, September 11, 2008.
233 Bjorgo and Horgan, Leaving Terrorism Behind, 219.

52

remains a mystery, the Security Subcommittee members routinely communicate with
other committee members as well as the public. This group works closely with inmates
and provides advice on how to be successful once released. The security members inform
the inmates of expectations and explain how the monitoring process will be utilized to
ensure there is no contact with individuals who are considered a threat to the inmate’s
new freedom or the security of the Kingdom.234
6.

Media Subcommittee Framework

As the terrorist networks have found the value of utilizing an effective media
campaign for recruitment and propagating violent extremism, the Media Subcommittee
of the Advisory Committee has also embarked on an intensive media initiative to reduce
radicalization and promote the Kingdom’s message of avoiding terrorist networks like alQaeda. The primary target of this organized message is the most vulnerable, the young
Saudi male.235

Recognizing its audience, the committee has created messages and

examples that mirror the struggles of ex-terrorists who found themselves abandoned by
the terrorist groups once they were no longer any value.236 Through research, the Media
Subcommittee has determined the most effective method of delivering the program’s
message is through Friday prayers (Jumu’ah prayer).237 The Media Subcommittee’s
mission is a good example of a proactive approach to countering radicalization with a
target group who has proven to be vulnerable to the Islamic extremist message.
7.

Detainee Family Members Role in the Program

As with the deradicalization program in Singapore, Saudi Arabia understands the
value of utilizing the inmate’s family as a powerful partner and motivator to promote
positive change. Inmate family members take an active role in engaging in counseling
sessions and encouraging the inmate’s rehabilitation effort.238 As the inmates progress
234 Bjorgo and Horgan, Leaving Terrorism Behind, 219.
235 Ibid., 220.
236 Ibid.
237 Ibid.
238 Porges, The Saudi Deradicalization Experiment. 28.

53

through the program and approach possible release, the government expects the inmate’s
family or tribe to provide supervision and guidance to prevent the inmate from going
astray.239
The aftercare phase is conducted in a relaxed, non-regimented environment.240
Inmates have access to table tennis, video games, swimming, art therapy, fresh air, and
other recreational activities on a regular basis.241 The rehabilitation center’s therapeutic
atmospheres is conducive to individual counseling and designed to reintegrate the
offender back into society and restore family bonds that have been broken during the
inmate’s incarceration.242 The family provides a powerful influence for the inmate not to
reoffend and accepts a significant degree of responsibility for the inmate’s success upon
release.
Boucek makes an interesting observation by pointing out that by holding the
family responsible, both personally and financially, for the inmate’s success once
released, the government is utilizing the strong cultural values of honor and obligation to
the family.243 As part of the deradicalization program, inmates receive furloughs to
attend family functions but only if three of the inmate’s family come forward and sign for
his release and ensure his return.244 If they do not deliver the inmate back to the
government’s custody, they take his place.245 The significance of the social support
element in the program cannot be overstated. Not only does it serve as a smart investment
for the Saudi government, it serves as a significant motivator for disengagement.
F.

PROGRAM’S SUCCESS
The Advisory Committee Counseling Program of Saudi Arabia demonstrates the

proactive efforts of a governing body in attempting to counter the radicalization of its
239 Boucek, Saudi Arabia’s “Soft” Counterterrorism Strategy, 20.
240 Horgan and Braddock, “Rehabilitating the Terrorists?” 278.
241 Mohammad, To Deprogram a Jihadist, 30.
242 Horgan and Braddock, “Rehabilitating the Terrorists?” 267–291.
243 Boucek, Saudi Arabia’s “Soft” Counterterrorism Strategy. 20.
244 Ibid.
245 Ibid.

54

inmate population as well as its general population. Realizing that locking individuals
away without addressing the rehabilitation needs is like placing a Band-Aid on an
infected wound without medication. You can expect future problems! In January 2010,
Marisa Proges reported approximately 4000 inmates had participated in the Saudi
program and reintegrated back into society.246 In a 2009 BBC article, Mansour Al-Turki,
who serves as the Director of General Affairs for the Minister of Interior and Director of
Saudi’s rehabilitation centers, states that the Prince Muhammad Bin Naif Centre for Care
and Advice “had to date advised and guided over 5,500 individuals returning from
troubled areas in Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries.”247
A 2010, Country Report on Terrorism by the U.S. State Department, states the
Minister of Interior of Saudi Arabia reports the Saudi deradicalization program has
served as many as 3,200 inmates who have participated in approximately 5,000
counseling sessions.248 Doctor Abdurrahman al-Hadlaq, Director General of Ideological
Security for the Saudi Minister of Interior, acknowledges not every case is a success.
Hadlaq reported that during the month of June 2008, the Saudi government locked up 500
extremists.249 The point was made by Hadlaq that if the deradicalization program had
not been in place, the numbers may have been much higher. Dr. al-Hadlaq advises about
10 percent of the extremists reject an offer to participate in the program.250 Hadlaq
emphasizes the program is voluntary and that no one is forced to participate.
In the 2010 Department of State report (referenced above), the report advises the
Ministry of Interior of Saudi Arabia provided estimates of the recidivism rates to be at
10 percent for program participants and 20 percent for participants who have returned

246 Porges, The Saudi Deradicalization Experiment.
247 “Saudi Official Says Rehabilitation of 117 Ex-Gitmo Detainees Working Smoothly,” BBC
Monitoring Middle East, June 18, 2009.
248 Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorsim, United States Department of State, Country
Reports on Terrorism 2010 (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of State, 2011),
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/saudiarabia/7195400/Saudi-Arabia-defends-alQaeda-rehabilitation-scheme.html (accessed November 12, 2012).
249 Murphy, “Saudis Use Cash,” 1.
250 Ibid.

55

from Guantanamo.251 An article in The Long War Journal, Saudi officials are quoted as
reporting 25 of the 120 Guantanamo inmates who had graduated the rehabilitation
program as “returning to terrorism.”252 It is important to note these figures are reported
by the Saudi government, and, as mentioned, they are only estimates of recidivism rates.
Many have questioned whether a program that has only been in operation less than 10
years can be judged as successful.253 One cannot deny the difficulty in knowing what
actions a program graduate may be involved in once released and the issues with not
maintaining accurate records to track individuals upon release.

251 Office of the Coordinator, Country Reports on Terrorism 2010, 103–104.
252 Thomas Joscelyn, “Saudi Gitmo Recidivists,” The Long War Journal, June 21, 2010,

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2010/06/saudi_gitmo_recidivi.php (accessed November 12, 2011).
253 Horgan and Braddock, “Rehabilitating the Terrorists?” 267–291.

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V.
A.

RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION

RESTATEMENT OF RESEARCH LIMITATIONS
I would again acknowledge the limitations of this research. Because prisons are

complex, fickle environments and deficient in intensive social research, it is difficult to
determine a cause/effect relationship between the experiences of prison life and the
negative effects, such experiences may have on the individual prisoner. In a 2009
Criminology and Public Policy article, Useem and Clayton acknowledged the
complexities of the correctional environment and the many “unknowns” that surround the
issue of prison radicalization.254 Although the comparative analysis of Singapore and
Saudi Arabia’s deradicalization programs offer externally valid data, I acknowledge the
fundamental differences in governmental structures, cultural standards and legal
considerations as compared to the United States. This research is dependent upon the
self-reported data of the countries represented and independent verification to confirm or
deny the data is not possible. Consideration must also be given to the obvious difference
in the definitions of relevant terms from Singapore and Saudi Arabia such as
“radicalization” or “extremism” as compared to the United States. This researcher
acknowledges what may be considered radicalization or extremist activity in America
could be considered normal social behavior in another country.
B.

AN ANALYSIS OF THE RELEVANT LITERATURE USED TO FORM A
BASIS FOR THE FOLLOWING RECOMMENDATIONS FOR
REDUCING THE VULNERABILITY OF PRISON RADICALIZATION
The goal of this thesis was to identify a strategy that offered possible solutions to

counter prison radicalization within America’s correctional institutions. By identifying
contributing factors that promote prison radicalization, proactive measures that mitigate
these factors may reduce the prison’s vulnerability to extremism and radicalization. The
negative influences of prison gangs and groups should not be underestimated, although
understanding the concepts of social identity offer possible countermeasures to
254 Bert Useem and Obie Clayton, “Radicalization of U.S. Prisoners,” Criminology and Public Policy
8, no. 3 (August, 2009): 564.

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combating the power of the charismatic group leader and their radicalized agenda. The
following recommendations are based on my analysis of the literature and cite the
relevant works that form the basis of the recommendations. The recommendations focus
on reducing the vulnerability of prison radicalization by implementing policy and
procedures that help mitigate environmental factors that research has shown promotes
radicalization within the correctional setting:
1.

Productive Rehabilitation and Effective Security: The Dual Strategy

The most effective correctional system incorporates productive rehabilitative
programs with sound security policies. In reading Strategy Safari, I realized a valuable
truth as stated in the book, “eventually situations change—environments destabilize,
niches disappear, opportunities open up. Then all that is constructive and effective about
an established strategy becomes a liability [emphasis added].”255 This reference from
Strategy Safari rings true in that the dominant strategy within corrections has been a
security focused model. As demonstrated in this thesis, the current strategy related to the
incarceration of convicted terrorist is predominately a security focused model. With such
a focus, rehabilitative models may find limited support for implementation or funding.
I would argue that in many cases, correctional policy has failed to adjust strategies
that target the positive aspects of rehabilitative efforts. Correction’s long-term strategy
(security), although it is the foundation of sound correctional policy, may have become a
“liability” because we have failed to recognize the need to change and adjust the strategy
to a model that includes both security and a robust rehabilitative initiative. According to
the authors of Strategy Safari, “Strategy, as mental set, can blind the organization to its
own outdatedness. Thus we conclude that strategies are to organizations what blinders are
to horses: they keep them going in a straight line but hardly encourage peripheral
vision.”256 Good “peripheral vision” will help us recognize the benefits of a strategy that

255 Bruce Ahlstrand, Henry Mintzberg, Joseph Lampel, Strategy Safari: A Guided Tour through the
Wilds of Strategic Management (New York, Simon & Schuster, 2001), Kindle Edition 256–257.
256 Ahlstrand, Mintzberg, and Lampel, Strategy Safari, 261–263.

58

incorporates rehabilitative models with sound security policies and together offer an
effective strategy to reducing the vulnerability for prison radicalization.
2.

Effective Monitoring and Control of Prison Groups257

Group dynamics within American prisons should not be dismissed as insignificant
by correctional administrators. As individual inmates enter the prison setting, an inmate
searching for a new identity finds advantages to finding an in-group that provides
support, security, and a possible new identity. As found in Hamm’s two-year study of
prison radicalization, gangs in prison have a direct link to radicalization.258 Whether we
refer to a security threat group (STG) or a group of inmates with no STG affiliation, the
group provides a unique environment within the prison setting for a charismatic group
leader to promote an extremist message.
Correctional administrators should monitor and track prison groups to establish a
proactive and informative position against any threats to the security of the facility. Gang
intelligence officers, as well as correctional housing unit officers and correctional
chaplains, provide an excellent resource to monitor group activity. The charismatic group
leaders should be identified and appropriate monitoring of the inmate’s communication
may provide actionable intelligence.
Considering that Islam is the fastest growing religion in prison,259 Mark Hamm
made an excellent observation in that correctional leaders may find advantages in hiring
Muslim Americans.260 This practice has the potential of providing Islamic authority
figures within the correctional environment to help detect and prevent Islamic
radicalization, as well as provide a recognized Islamic staff presence inside the prison.

257 Prison groups in this section will refer to security threat groups as well as other groups that may
promote a radical violent ideology.
258 Hamm, “Prisoner Radicalization,” 15.
259 House Committee on Homeland Security. The Threat of Muslim-American. 4.
260 Hamm, “Prisoner Radicalization,” 18.

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3.

Rigorous Vetting and Monitoring of Prison Chaplains and Religious
Volunteers

Whether you consider Islamic radicalization or right wing/Christian Identity
radicalization in prisons, both have a religious nexus that attempts to justify violence by
attaching an individual moral or religious obligation to each member. Considering the
religious underpinning associated with radicalization, the prison’s religious authority
plays a vital role in monitoring and supervising the message delivered to the prison
population. Although America’s prison policies have advanced somewhat to prevent
radicalized prison chaplains from entering the prison’s chapel and delivering a
radicalized message, there remain incidents where current policies are not followed and
therefore permit radical messages to be delivered to the inmate population.261 With no
ecclesiastical body to certify Islamic providers, prison officials should utilize properly
vetted Islamic leaders to assist in examining the provider’s specific religious beliefs and
interpretations of religious doctrine. As mentioned in this research, Warith Deen Umar,
an ex-inmate and imam, was responsible for recruiting and training chaplains for New
York’s prison system provides an example of a failed vetting process. The absence of an
effective vetting process for prison religious service providers and volunteers enhances
the possibility of prison radicalization.
As part of their policy compliance inspections, prison administrators should verify
through personal observation, video monitoring, or intermediate visits that chaplains and
religious volunteers are following established policy that prohibits inflammatory and
obviously disrespectful messages aimed at other religious or groups. Many of the
recommendations found in the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) report regarding the
review of the BOP’s selection process for Muslim religious service providers262 offer
relevant issues that should be addressed in prison policy.
The practice of permitting inmates to lead prison religious services, although
convenient and at times seemingly necessary, may not be the best practice. The
placement of inmates in a leadership or authoritative role, sanctioned by the prison
261 Office of Inspector General, A Review of the Federal Bureau of Prisons’, 54.
262 Ibid.

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administration, establishes a sense of creditability that will enhance a charismatic
inmate’s ability to promote an extremist message to the group. As discussed in this
research, findings from a 2004 prison gang survey provided evidence that wardens
indicated only half of the religious services in their prisons were supervised by staff.263
If prison administrators determine it necessary to permit the practice of allowing inmates
to lead religious services, these services should be intensively monitored in an effort to
reduce the vulnerability for prison radicalization.
4.

Encourage Positive
Communication264

Inmate/Family

Social

Interaction

and

When you consider the complexity of the prison environment and the unavoidable
restrictions that directly affect an inmate’s liberty, providing the inmate opportunities to
maintaining positive social interactions with family or significant others is very
important. As Gresham Sykes’s research revealed, maximum custody inmates describe
their experience as extremely “depriving” and “frustrating.”265 Although Americans may
argue that convicted terrorists deserve nothing more than extremely frustrating and
deprived living conditions within prison, I would argue conditions that prevent positive
social interactions will have a chilling effect on rehabilitation efforts and increase the
potential for radicalization. The positive influences that seem to be fostered through
harnessing the motivational factors found in encouraging positive family and social
interaction can be witnessed in both the Singapore and Saudi deradicalization programs.
5.

Correctional Policy Should Encourage Social Research within Prisons

I would argue understanding the complexities of a captive society like prison
populations may never be truly achievable. I believe my 29-plus years of working inside
prisons have helped me recognize how fragile this environment can be but to truly

263 Knox, The Problem of Gangs. 5.
264 For the purpose of this research, positive inmate/family social interaction and communication is
defined as providing opportunities for inmates to maintain family and social relationships that may provide
opportunities and incentives that may counter violent extremist ideologies. Interaction and communication
with anyone who promotes violent extremist views would not be encouraged.
265 Sykes, The Society of Captives, 63.

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understand how the prison environment affects prisoners will require social research. It
has been reflected throughout this thesis the reluctance of correctional administrators in
opening the prison doors to allow researchers access to incident reports, records, and,
most importantly, the data that can only be retrieved from the prisoners themselves
through interviews. The report, Out of the Shadows: Getting Ahead of Prisoner
Radicalization, identified the importance of research in truly understanding the
radicalization process inside prisons.266 As we move forward in this battle against prison
radicalization, correctional administrators should recognize the benefits in approving
social research projects that potentially may provide answers to the questions that help us
better understand prison radicalization.
6.

Provide Adequate Staff Training and Develop Intelligence Sharing
Networks with Criminal Justice Partners

The Correctional Intelligence Initiative, developed by the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) and the National Joint Terrorism Task Force (NJTTF), provides a
good framework that promotes intelligence gathering, related to terrorism and prisoner
radicalization, from United States correctional agencies.267 I argue that although the plan
is structurally sound, there remains a significant training element that must be
accomplished. Correctional officers, counselors, chaplains, and other line staff must be
properly trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of violent extremism and
radicalization as well as understanding the procedure for reporting this activity to the
appropriate prison personnel. The Review of the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Selection of
Muslim Religious Services Providers also recognized the importance of training
correctional staff to recognize and report signs of radicalization.268
The Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) serves as a good example of a
state correctional agency proactively implementing policy that mandates intelligence
sharing and training that supports intelligence gathering. TDOC has implemented an

266 Cilluffo, Out of the Shadows. 4.
267 Joseph to the Office of the Inspector General.
268 Office of Inspector General, A Review of the Federal Bureau of Prisons’.

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administrative policy “index # 506.27 Correctional Intelligence Initiative”269 that
mandates the collaborative effort to share intelligence from within the department to the
fusion center, JTTF as well as other law enforcement agencies. The TDOC training
academy has developed a training curriculum that provides line staff the annual training
necessary to recognize elements of prisoner radicalization and how to respond to and
report such activity.270 Correctional administrators at the federal, state, and local levels
should ensure collaborative strategies are in place to promote intelligence sharing as well
as ensuring that adequate staff training has been accomplished to help line staff recognize
prison radicalization.
C.

ANALYSIS OF THE TWO DERADICALIZATION PROGRAMS IN
SAUDI ARABIA AND SINGAPORE
The existing U.S. philosophy related to countering prison radicalization and

ideologically motivated violent extremism within the Bureau of Prisons demonstrates an
intensive security approach focused on controlling inmate communication and the
propagation of inmate radicalization. Throughout this research, I have failed to find any
U.S. prison deradicalization initiative. Although the United States’ “total segregation
model” may reduce the opportunity for incarcerated inmates with a terrorism nexus to
preach their violent message to the inmate population, we should ask ourselves, “what are
we doing to prepare these inmates to return to society and what effect is long-term
maximum security housing having on the inmates”?
I would argue that although prisons—due to their punitive nature and restricted
environments—may be fertile ground for radicalization, they also provide unique
opportunities for influencing this captive audience to reevaluate their violent extremist
mindsets. I believe the following elements of the two deradicalization models currently
used in Singapore and Saudi Arabia offer U.S. correctional policymakers innovative
strategies for countering prison radicalization. Through a comparative analysis of
Singapore and Saudi Arabia’s prison deradicalization programs, this research set out to
269 Department of Correction, Administrative Policy and Procedure 506.27, Correctional Intelligence

Initiative, (Nashville, TN: Department of Correction, 2008).
270 Tennessee Correctional Academy, Prison Radicalization.

63

provide useful data that would provide a basis for a recommendation for a U.S. prison
deradicalization model. The following elements of each program were collectively
examined and used as determining factors to suggest program success. These elements,
taken collectively, will now be summarized to include recommendations for
consideration in developing a U.S. prison deradicalization model.
1.

Program Rehabilitative Efforts (Cognitive or Educational) Used to
Counter Violent Ideological Beliefs/Rationalizations That Support the
Use of Violence to Promote a Political or Religious Agenda

The crux of Singapore’s and Saudi Arabia’s deradicalization programs is the
counseling components that challenge the radical religious ideologies that terrorist use in
rationalizing violence to promote a religious agenda. Singapore’s RRG four-stage
counseling program, as well as Saudi Arabia’s Advisory Committee Counseling Program,
specifically targets what both countries have labeled a misinterpretation of Islamic
doctrine. Both programs utilize reputable clerics, psychologists, and trained religious
scholars to engage the inmates in focused discourse designed to stimulate a cognitive
self-evaluation of the inmate’s radical justifications for violence.
Another commonality found in these two programs is the gradual progression of
the counseling encounters. Just as the initial counseling session in the Singapore model,
Saudi Arabia initiates the first counseling session as a private conversation between the
inmate and a counselor.271 As stated in Chapters III and IV, these initial counseling
sessions are designed to establish a beginning point for future discourse and ideally
provide the counselor some insight as to the specific ideological beliefs of the inmate. In
both programs, these sessions are critical in establishing the counselor as a creditable
religious authority. As indicated in the research, both programs utilize volunteers who
have been vetted by the appropriate authority to deliver the program inside the
correctional environments. As mentioned in Chapters III and IV, a heavy emphasis is
placed on the government’s interpretation of Islamic doctrine (Quran) to discredit radical
extremism.

271 Boucek, “Extremist Reeducation.” 3.

64

As the counseling sessions continue, the focus of the conversation shifts toward
explanations that discredit the inmate’s “incorrect interpretations” of religious doctrine or
ideology. Again, in both programs, these early sessions do not involve group activity or
conversations, although, as the counseling sessions advance, both programs incorporate
these same justifications for discrediting violent ideological mindsets into a venue that
includes, as mentioned in Chapter IV, up to 20 inmates. Within the group setting, both
programs encourage spirited debate and discourse among participants. In Chapter IV,
I made reference to Boucek’s explanation of the Advisory Committee recognizing the
importance of utilizing “former militant figures” to help facilitate portions of these
sessions. By incorporating a voice the inmates could relate too and recognize as “one of
us” would hopefully help solidify the inmate’s commitment to change and add
creditability to the programs message.
It is also important to mention that both programs, to promote a cognitive change
in the inmate, recognize the need for a psychological and social service presence. Boucek
was referenced in Chapter IV as describing the use of social scientist along with religious
clerics in the debate of subjects such as “takfir,” walaah (loyalty). The use of
psychological courses offered inmates opportunities to reevaluate their self esteem and
provided instruction on how to avoid misleading teachings that could result in violent
confrontations. Chapter III provided information related to Singapore’s Internal Security
Department (ISD) being briefed from psychologists and case officers related to an
inmate’s progress in making a positive cognitive shift from violent extremism.272
a.

Recommendation 1: Establishment of Voluntary Cognitive-based
Counseling Program

My first recommendation is the establishment of a voluntary cognitive
based counseling program for inmates who are incarcerated for terrorism related crimes
or inmates who exhibit violent ideological expressions.
Throughout this thesis, the point that 95 percent of the inmate population
will be returning to our communities has been alluded to on multiple occasions. I believe
272 Report on a Conference Organized by the International Centre.

65

by focusing predominantly on the security aspects necessary for the secure incarceration
of the 362 individuals in the U.S. for crimes related to terrorism, we overlook a unique
opportunity to provide meaningful rehabilitation whereby inmates could possibly make a
cognitive change in the mindset that justified violent radicalization and in some cases
terrorism. As stated in Chapter II, Communications Management Units (CMU) have been
referred to as a “total segregation model.” The model, as referenced in Chapter II,
provides little opportunity for rehabilitation.
The counseling programs, as described in Chapters III and IV, find their
strength and effectiveness in discourse and challenging individuals on their personal and
religious views. This same process could possibly pay benefits in the U.S. prison system.
Although I acknowledge the governmental pressures of Saudi Arabia that demand
compliance with religious views are much different than in America, I remain convinced
that by engaging inmates in discourse that challenges their rationalizations for terrorist
activity and radicalization, we provide an opportunity for a cognitive change that will
reduce recidivism. The reported success of both the Saudi and Singapore programs
should not be dismissed.
Chapters III and IV provide examples of trained psychologists, religious
scholars, and properly vetted religious volunteers, being utilized to deliver focused
discourse designed to provide the foundation in changing the mindset of a terrorist. I
would argue that most state and federal correctional facilities currently have anger
management programs that mirror some of the foundational cognitive principles that have
been described in Chapters III and IV.
2.

Program Characteristics: Voluntary or Involuntary Participation and
Incentives for Participation and Successful Completion

Both the Saudi and Singapore program were reported as voluntary, although the
incentives for successful participation may have been considered an offer only a few
could refuse. Singapore and Saudi alike have legal authority to detain individuals
suspected of terrorist participation. In both cases, participation in the state’s program may
offer the only avenue to freedom. As referenced in Chapter III, Singapore utilizes the
66

Internal Security Act (ISA) that authorizes long-term detention upon approval of the
president. Saudi Arabia, a monarchy, permits the detention by the order of the Minister of
the Interior or the king, as described in Chapter IV. In both of these programs, some
detainees’ only option for release may be to actively participate in the deradicalization
programs.
The additional incentives for successful participation in both programs are very
lucrative and rewarding. Both programs recognize the stressors placed on family
members, who often suffer from the incarceration of their primary financial provider.
Realizing the need and the strategic benefit in assisting the family members of
incarcerated inmates, monetary support is provided. In both cases, this social support fills
a need that otherwise might have been filled by an extremist group, therefore
compounding the radicalization issue. Secondly, the support instills a sense of loyalty and
willingness to cooperate with rehabilitation, which are positive investments for both
governments. Additionally, in the case of Saudi Arabia, social support, including
financial assistance, is provided for marriages as well as transportation. Both of these
incentives have been reported as investments in the individual’s future to provide stability
and reduce the chances of reengaging in violent extremism or terrorist activity.273
a.

Recommendation 2: Incentives for Inmates

My second recommendation is that inmates who participate in voluntary
deradicalization programs should be afforded the same incentives related to sentence
credit reductions,274 vocational/educational opportunities as well as aftercare programs
that support their chances for successful reentry and reduce the chances of further
extremist activity as offered to the inmates in general prison population.
Correctional policymakers should consider participation in this program
part of an inmate’s rehabilitative program and therefore award the same credits as would
be appropriate for any other program or job as approved by their policy. Providing these
273 Bjorgo and Horgan, Leaving Terrorism Behind, 217.
274 Sentence credit reductions would be considered the reduction of days from the offender’s total
sentence for satisfactorily participating in a program or job as well as the reduction of days from the
sentence for good behavior.

67

incentives, as demonstrated in this research, affords many of the similar benefits as found
in Saudi Arabia and Singapore. As in both the Singapore and Saudi model, the inmates
family will benefit by the inmate returning home sooner after serving a shorter sentence.
Parole boards will have the opportunity of recognizing the inmate’s participation in the
program as a genuine rehabilitative effort and will have the authorization to award early
release if appropriate based on the inmate’s charge and behavior while in prison. One of
the primary missions of any correctional system is to help the inmate correct his/her
behavior. Providing meaningful incentives will encourage participation in a program that
potentially could remove a terrorist threat from the homeland.
3.

Reported Success of the Programs

As acknowledged in the limitations of research section, the research data related
to the reported success of Religious Rehabilitation Program (RRG) of Singapore and the
Advisory Committee Counseling Program of Saudi Arabia is totally dependent on the
reported data from open source information as well as the reports from the two
governments represented in this thesis.
In a December 31, 2011 memorandum, the Singapore Prison Service reported a
total population of 10,028 inmates.275 This researcher was unable to determine how
many of these individuals were incarcerated for terrorist-related crimes or whether any
were being held on orders of detention. As reported in Chapter III, the SPS reported a
recidivism rate of 26.7 percent for the release cohort of 2009, which reflected a decline
from 27.3 percent for the year ending 2008. In 2009, the RRG reported more than 1,200
counseling sessions with detainees and those under orders of restriction by the ISD and
more than 130 sessions provided for family members of detainees. This researcher was
unable to find additional data to reflect specific reported numbers of inmates who had
successfully completed the deradicalization program and returned to society.
As reported in Chapter IV, a 2009 BBC article quoted Mansour Al-Turki, who
serves as Director of General Affairs for the Minister of Interior and Director of Saudi’s
rehabilitation centers, as saying that the Prince Muhammad Bin Naif Centre for Care and
275 Singapore Prison Service, “2012 Singapore Prison Service.”

68

Advice had provided rehabilitative services to more than 5,500 individuals returning from
Afghanistan, Iraq as well as other countries. Although the Saudi government
acknowledges that not every individual will accept the voluntarily program and not all
successfully graduate the program, it still reports recidivism rates to be approximately
10 percent for the program participants and 20 percent for the participants who have
completed the program after returning from Guantanamo.276 One relevant note regarding
the Saudi program would be the reported success of the detainee program employed by
Task Force 134 in Iraq. As mentioned in Chapter IV, U.S. General Douglas Stone
reported in a 2008 briefing to the Department of Defense that the recidivism rates of Iraqi
detainees released from the “134’s” program to be at approximately six percent. General
Stone modeled the 134’s deradicalization program after the Saudi program.277
4.

Methods Used to Promote Legitimacy and Validity to the Program
That in Theory Increases the Program’s Success

Singapore and Saudi Arabia both recognized the need for the program material as
well as the program facilitators to be considered legitimate in the eyes of the inmates.
Without a recognized religious authority, no interpretation of religious doctrine or Islamic
law would have been recognized as valid by the inmates. As referenced in Chapter IV of
this thesis, Saudi Arabia’s government is a monarchy with an established constitution
based on Islamic law and the Quran. By establishing the Saudi program under the
authority of the third ranking governmental official in Saudi Arabia, the Minister of the
Interior, the king sent a clear message regarding the legitimacy of the program. The
government of Saudi Arabia has opened its doors to recognized Islamic clerics and
religious leaders after rumors of prisoner abuse were detected in a proactive effort to
promote the validity of the program and to provide proof that the program’s theme was
rehabilitation not retribution.278
The Saudi’s Advisory Committee provides legitimacy for the program as it serves
as the administrative arm of the government and is made up of recognized religious
276 Office of the Coordinator, Country Reports on Terrorism 2010.
277 “Defense Department Briefing,” 8.
278 Boucek, Saudi Arabia’s “Soft” Counterterrorism Strategy. 21.

69

authority throughout the kingdom. In Chapter IV, Boucek described how the Saudi
program utilized “several former militant figures” to help facilitate the program. Again,
this technique provides significant legitimacy to the program’s claim that the inmates
have based their violent actions on a misinterpretation of Islamic law. To witness a
former terrorist validate this claim provides a strong validation.
Singapore also established validity by creating an administrative element of the
RRG that authenticates volunteer credentials as well as material used in the counseling
sessions.279 Religious scholars, both in Islamic law and religion, provide support to the
Singapore program. The RRG program provided updated training manuals to counselors
that ensure modern information is utilized during the counseling programs. As with the
Saudi program, the RRG group promotes an intensive aftercare phase that assist detainee
family members with financial and social support needs during the inmate’s
incarceration. As reported in Chapters III and IV, such actions not only reduce the
vulnerability of radicalization with inmate’s family members, but they also provides a
powerful motivator for the inmates to see the government’s program as legitimate in
focusing on rehabilitation and not retribution.
a.

Recommendation 3: Invest in Volunteers, Chaplains, and
Psychological Professionals and Partner with Family Members

My third recommendation had two parts. First, I recommend that U.S.
Corrections should invest in an intensive effort to recruit properly vetted and trained
volunteers, chaplains, and psychological professionals that would be utilized in an
established counseling program as recommended in recommendation 1.
The second part of the recommendation is to partner with inmate family
members to promote a positive social relationship that can be utilized as a motivating
factor to encourage productive inmate participation in the counseling program.
As referenced in Chapters III and IV, both deradicalization programs
utilized religious volunteers, recognized religious scholars, and mental health
professionals to ensure the quality and legitimacy of the deradicalization programs were
279 Hassan, “The Roles of Religious Rehabilitation Group.” 3.

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maintained. Both programs also provided valid subject matter experts that engaged the
inmates in intensive discourse that challenged a particular extremist religious based
ideology. I would argue that most correctional departments have a limited supply of
religious volunteers and finding qualified Islamic scholars who have been properly vetted
will be a challenge.280
Throughout the research, the point was made that only qualified Islamic
scholars or clerics, with the appropriate credentials, could provide the recognized
legitimacy needed to make the program successful. To meet this challenge, a
modification in U.S. strategy may be required by turning to advances in technology that
would allow videoconferencing with recognized clerics or religious scholars in other
regions or even other countries. To ensure the validity of the counseling program,
developing a cadre of qualified volunteers and mental health professionals will be a
critical component to success. It is important to note that a “one size fits all” strategy will
not meet the demands of a prison deradicalization program. Correctional administrators
will need to adjust the resources to meet the program requirements depending on the
ideology targeted.
By utilizing the family members of inmates as partners to promote
positive social relationships for the inmates and to encourage inmate participation in the
rehabilitation program, the positive influences mentioned in section B. 4 (p. 61) of this
chapter, as well as Chapters IV and V, will be recognized. My experience as a
correctional administrator has demonstrated a positive correlation between inmates
maintaining family bonds and their positive adjustments to the correctional setting as well
as their willingness to actively engage in rehabilitation. As demonstrated in Chapter IV,
family members play a vital role in the success of the deradicalization program.281 The
family participation may also promote a sense of obligation for the inmate to avoid any
situation that could result in reoffending.

280 Cilluffo, Out of the Shadows, 38
281 Porges, The Saudi Deradicalization Experiment. 28.

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5.

Methods of Aftercare or Post-Release Supervision

The aftercare initiatives and post-release supervision in Singapore and Saudi
Arabia are very generous and serve as an extension of the supervision arm of the
government once the inmate returns to society. The RRG’s aftercare group provides
aftercare and social assistance to inmates directly by providing post incarceration
counseling.282 As inmates leave the confines of prison, the government of Singapore
utilizes detention orders, as described in Chapter III, that require continued counseling
and community supervision.283 The RRG recognized the pressures inmates would face
once leaving the confines of the correctional setting and returning home. Providing this
continued counseling helps not only to continue a support structure for the inmate after
leaving prison, it also allows monitoring of the inmate to track his behavior and
compliance with avoiding extremist activity.
Indirectly, the aftercare group supports the inmates while still incarcerated by
providing social support to inmate family members. The support is found in monetary
benefits, as well as providing social programs that help family members adjust to the
incarceration of their loved one.284 By providing this support, the RRG and the Muslim
community attempt to prevent the extremist from stepping in to offer assistance to the
inmate’s family and regaining a foothold that could result in reoffending or radicalization
of family members.285
Realizing you cannot force rehabilitation and considering the constitutional rights
that protect religion, participation in the program would be voluntary. Both programs
researched in this thesis have been reported as voluntary programs. The integrity of any
counseling program that sought a cognitive change in the individual would be dependent
on the voluntary nature of the program. This issue was addressed in recommending a
totally voluntary program.

282 Report on a Conference Organized by the International Centre, 30.
283 Ibid.
284 Ibid.
285 Ibid.

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Saudi Arabia’s Psychological and Social Subcommittees play an important role in
providing aftercare and social support to the program participants. As with the RRG, the
Saudi program recognizes that the inmate’s success upon release from incarceration is
dependent on reentry rehabilitation and intensive aftercare and monitoring. Inmates who
have completed the program report that they have received up to $800 in monthly
allowances along with a new car and thousands of dollars to pay for a marriage. 286 The
Security Subcommittee provides a method of enforcement monitoring after the inmate is
released,287 much like parole supervision in America. This type of monitoring helps to
ensure compliance with post release mandates that were established prior to release.
The last phase of Saudi Arabia’s program takes place in a rehabilitation center
that allows for family bonding and adjusting to a new lifestyle without extremist
involvement.288 Set in a therapeutic atmosphere, a time of reflection, counseling, and
family bonding take center stage. As mentioned in Chapter IV, while in the center,
inmates are granted furloughs that help reestablish family ties. As family ties are
reestablished, the government makes it clear the responsibility for the inmate’s success
after returning home is a dual responsibility shared by the inmate as well as the family.289
a.

Recommendation 4: Develop and Implement a Vigorous
Aftercare Initiative

My fourth recommendation is to develop and implement a vigorous
aftercare initiative that ensures post-incarceration monitoring/supervision, counseling and
social service assistance upon successful completion of the deradicalization program.
As with Singapore and Saudi Arabia, an aggressive aftercare initiative for
inmates who complete a deradicalization program would extend the rehabilitation
components from the prison program into our communities once the inmates are released
from incarceration. Although providing financial support, as in the case of Saudi Arabia,

286 Murphy, “Saudis Use Cash.” 10.
287 Bjorgo and Horgan, Leaving Terrorism Behind, 219.
288 Mohammad, “To Deprogram a Jihadist, 30.”
289 Boucek, Saudi Arabia’s “Soft” Counterterrorism Strategy. 23.

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would not be feasible in America, the U.S. should consider a partnership with properly
vetted volunteer groups that could assist with job placement and social support. Providing
these inmates the opportunity to enhance their ability to function and support their family
with meaningful employment upon their release is vital to their successful reintegration
into society and reduces their vulnerability to radicalization. As explored in Chapters III
and IV, this community network of volunteers could serve as an extension of the
volunteer groups that assist with the counseling program inside the prison. Much like the
Singapore and Saudi model, the aftercare program would be an extension of the
rehabilitative effort that takes place inside the prison.
The Singapore and Saudi programs both detail how an aftercare program
provided the government a method for monitoring the inmate once they left the
correctional setting. As Michael Brown identified in his Naval Postgraduate School
thesis, inmates who leave prison soon vanish into the communities and social fabric of
America.290 The challenge of tracking radicalized inmates once they leave custody has
proven to be almost impossible. By judicial orders or probation/parole supervision,
inmates could be required to continue cognitive behavior modification programs such as
counseling or pro-social life skills as a condition of their release. I realize this concept
may face legal challenges, but it would provide a dual service by providing a level of
monitoring once the inmate is released from custody as well as assisting the inmate with
behavior management issues. It is not uncommon for many state correctional systems
today to mandate that inmates on parole participate in programs such as drug and alcohol
treatment or anger management programs.
Post-incarceration monitoring of inmates who serve 100 percent of their
sentence would create a significant challenge without legal authority to authorize the
action and require the inmate’s compliance. A strategy to assist in providing some degree
of monitoring inmates without judicial order would be to collaborate with family
members as partners in the aftercare of the inmate. As discussed in Chapters III and IV,
both Singapore and Saudi Arabia partner with the inmate’s family not only to provide the

290 Brown, “Freed.” 55.

74

family support but also to encourage the family to hold the inmate accountable for not
participating in actions that could lead to reoffending.
The recommendations in this chapter target the environmental and policy
issues that potentially increase the vulnerability of radicalization within the prison
environment as well as the individual rehabilitative needs of a radicalized inmate. These
recommendations provide a framework to develop a proactive deradicalization model for
U.S. prisons. Specific elements of Singapore and Saudi Arabia’s deradicalization
initiatives that incorporate community volunteers, religious scholars and clerics, inmate’s
family members as well as prison staff provide new possibilities for consideration in
developing a United States prison deradicalization program. This researcher
acknowledges a “one size fits all” approach would be ineffective; yet, these
recommendations provide systematic solutions that can be modified to meet the specific
issues germane to the radicalization.
The current United States model of segregating terrorist in communication
management units may offer a false sense of security and provides limited opportunity to
change the mindset of a radicalized prisoner. The effects of segregation on the individual
should be considered as they relate to the possibility of further radicalization and very
limited opportunity for rehabilitation. The recommendations in this thesis offer multiple
rehabilitative opportunities such as social, psychological and vocational rehabilitation.
They also provide possible solutions to reduce the negative effects of the prison
environment that may lead to a higher level of vulnerability for prison radicalization.
Taken collectively, all increase the inmate’s chances of successful reintegration into
society as well as enhance the security of the United States homeland.
The Appendix contains recommendations for a viable U.S. prison
deradicalization model.

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76

APPENDIX.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR A U.S. PRISON
DERADICALIZATION MODEL

Recommendations for a U.S. Prison Deradicalization Model
Suggested Proactive Measures for the
Correctional Environment Aimed at
Reducing the Vulnerability of Prison
Radicalization
1. Productive Rehabilitation and Effective
Security: The Dual Strategy (effective
rehabilitation enhances security)

2. Effective Monitoring and Control of
Prison Groups

3. Rigorous Vetting and Monitoring of
Prison Chaplains and Religious
Volunteers

4. Encourage Positive Inmate / Family
Social Interaction and Communication

Suggested Proactive Measures That Provide
Individual Treatment Options for the
Radicalized Inmate
1. The establishment of a voluntary cognitive
based counseling program for inmates who
are incarcerated for terrorism related crimes
or inmates who exhibit violent ideological
expressions.
2. Inmates who participate in voluntary
deradicalization programs should be
afforded the same incentives related to
sentence credit reductions,291
vocational/educational opportunities as well
as aftercare programs that support their
chances for successful reentry and reduce
the chances of further extremist activity.
3. U.S. Corrections should invest in an
intensive effort to recruit properly vetted and
trained volunteers, chaplains, and
psychological professionals that would be
utilized in an established counseling
program as recommended in
recommendation 1.
4. Develop and implement a vigorous aftercare
initiative that ensures post incarceration
monitoring/supervision, counseling and
social service assistance upon successful
completion of the deradicalization program.

5. Correctional Policy Should Encourage
Social Research within Prisons
6 Provide Adequate Staff Training and
Develop Intelligence Sharing Networks
with Criminal Justice Partners

291 Sentence credit reductions would be considered the reduction of days from the offender’s total
sentence for satisfactorily participating in a program or job as well as the reduction of days from the
sentence for good behavior.

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