Conceptualising ‘success’ with those convicted of terrorism offences: aims, methods, and barriers to reintegration

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Despite an increasing need to understand the aims of work with ex-prisoners convicted of terrorism offences, the knowledge base remains underdeveloped. Notwithstanding this limited theoretical and empirical foundation, practitioners in probation are increasingly faced with trying to successfully resettle these exprisoners. In the south of England, the organisation tasked with this work is London Probation Trust’s Central Extremism Unit (CEU). Based on interviews and observational research with practitioners, this article sets out a framework for interpreting this work’s aims from a practitioner perspective. Alongside describing the 13 primary aims of successful resettlement, the research sets out what success would ‘look like’, as well as considering some of the challenges in interpreting and promoting positive outcomes. The CEU’s model reflects a multimodal approach, speaking to both criminogenic needs, and the primary themes of desistance. Within this, practitioners try to encourage the probationers to take control of their own life and develop an agentic approach to their present and future. It is in this way that successful resettlement is conceptualised by practitioners working in this field. The implications of these findings for current debates over the appropriate focus of work on countering violent extremism and returnees from overseas conflict are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBehavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression
VolumeEarly view
Early online date20 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Terrorism
  • Desistance
  • Probation
  • 'De-radicalisation'
  • Countering violent extremism
  • Returning ‘foreign fighters’


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