On 4-5 December, the Budapest Centre launched the first of its series of trainings for prison personnel, provided by Vidia Negra and Borbala Fellegi within the framework of the project „Prevention of radicalization in the prison-system”.

On the first day, trainers introduced the participants to the concepts of polarization, restorative practices, conflict management and conflict escalation through small group work. After laying the theoretical basis for the training, they proceeded with contextualizing polarization and extremization with a particular emphasis on the importance of dialogue in achieving prevention. In the end of the first day, participants reflected upon the information received and discussed how it related to their own working environment based on their own experience and daily practice.

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The second day focused more on methods for preventing polarization and conflict escalation. Problem solving and conflict management strategies and techniques as well as possible responses to signs of polarization were discussed through everyday examples based on tools and skills already at hand for the participants. In the afternoon, the trainees implemented through exercises what they had learnt during the 2-day-long training.

Until March, 2018 four trainings of this kind will be conducted in four Hungarian prisons. For each group of trainees, a third supervisory day will be included within a month after the initial training to give participants time to practice and adapt the new skills into their daily routine, and deepen their knowledge and support as a team. The results of these trainings along with experience gained from other project activities will be summarized in a report in Hungarian and English and presented at a conference in the first half of 2018.

The „Prevention of radicalization in the prison-system” is a 13-month initiative of the Budapest Centre for Mass Atrocities Prevention in collaboration with Hungarian experts and researchers. Funded by the Internal Security Fund of the European Union, it aims at contributing to the coordination and improvement of national and international capabilities for preventing and countering radicalization. To that end, it maps the capabilities of Hungarian prisons to recognize signs of radicalization, as well as to manage and prevent processes leading to radicalization. It provides trainings for prison personnel to further improve such capabilities and conducts so-called “life-history” interviews with prisoners to better understand their main life themes and path and based on that facilitate their future rehabilitation and reintegration.

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