Prisoner Responses to Terrorism: Online Radicalisation Proposal
1.0 DEFINING RADICALISATION
Danish Security and Intelligence Service: "A process, by which a person to an increasing extent accepts the use of undemocratic or violent means, including terrorism, in an attempt to reach a specific political/ideological objective."
The Netherlands General Intelligence and Security Service: "The (active) pursuit of and/or support to far-reaching changes in society which may constitute a danger to (the continued existence of) the democratic legal order (aim), which may involve the use of undemocratic methods (means) that may harm the functioning of the democratic legal order (effect)"
Swedish Security Service: Radicalisation can be both "a process that leads to ideological or religious activism to introduce radical change to society" and "a process that leads to an individual or group using, promoting or advocating violence for political aims".
US Department of Homeland Security: "The process of adopting an extremist belief system, including the willingness to use, support, or facilitate violence, as a method to effect social change."
US Violent Radicalisation and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act (2007): "The process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change".
1.1 ASSESSING THE CURRENT TERRORISM THREAT
Some scholars have focused their attention on the Australian news and media discourse around the topic of terrorism. Multiple scholars agree that the media frequently invokes moral panics; a discursive technique first explored by Stanley Cohen, which describes the use of moral panics to create a public opinion that is aligned with the government's legislative agenda.
Extensive use of moral panics is evident in much of the Australian government's rhetoric around terrorism. Such examples are often generated by political commentary that dramatises the current terrorism threat, which the government claims can only be managed via the implementation of harsh legislation. Examples include propositions that advocate for the indefinite incarceration of convicted terrorists and the enforcement of high security prison classifications for remanded terrorists.
This rhetoric is supported on an international scale, which is evident when analysing the current commentary that surrounds inadequate border control policies and the possibility that a lack of deterrence-based measures would enable potential terrorists to infiltrate Australian shores undetected. These panics are used to justify the Australian government's enactment of criminal law policies such as offshore detention centres as a fundamental national security need.
1.2 ASSESSING THE THREAT OF PRISON RADICALISATION
It is difficult to ascertain whether the threat of prison radicalisation exists on the scale that is often reported. This difficulty exists due to a lack of primary research, particularly research that details the Australian government's custodial-based de-radicalisation efforts as well as a lack of statistical information regarding the number of offenders who have been radicalised whilst in custody.
Dr Clarke Jones, a de-radicalisation and counter terrorism expert from the Australian National University Canberra, states the mandatory AA and A1 security classifications of remanded and convicted terrorist offenders only further reinforces their radical beliefs. He calls for a 'dispersal model' whereby terrorist offenders serve their sentences assimilated with the rest of the general prison population. Jones states that the commentary surrounding terrorist offenders and their ability to radicalise other inmates is not evidence informed and only further complicates the delivery of de-radicalisation strategies. Jones adds that currently there exists no empirical information that details how terrorist offenders behave when dispersed with other general population inmates, leading to the consensus that their confinement and housing in expensive high security facilitates is an excessive drain to resources that could be used to further develop de-radicalisation programs.