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Global Jihadist Recidivism: A Red Flag

NCJ Number
Studies in Conflict & Terrorism Volume: 31 Issue: 3 Dated: March 2008 Pages: 182-200
Dennis A. Pluchinsky
Date Published
March 2008
19 pages
This article examines the issue of global jihadist recidivism and identifies it as a potential long-term international counterterrorism concern.
A terrorist is only neutralized by imprisonment; imprisoned terrorists who are released do not necessarily have to return to violence to be considered not rehabilitated and therefore a recidivist. A recidivist has been defined as one who, after release from custody for having committed a crime, is not rehabilitated. In most cases, the terrorist may return to participating in terrorist operations. However, it is also possible that the recidivist may engage in other forms of illegal activity that further the cause of his group or movement. They could also return to propaganda or logistical work, or engage in training. If they returned to any duties and responsibilities that further the cause of their illegal organization or movement they must be counted as a recidivist. Global jihadist recidivism has the potential to be a major counterterrorism problem over the next several decades. It is a manpower issue that has the potential to periodically refuel the global jihadist movement. Terrorist recidivism has for the first time become a global issue and problem for the United States. It is a problem that must be addressed with resources and new policies. There are clearly valid presumptions, preliminary indicators, and anecdotal evidence that suggests that global jihadist recidivism needs to be examined in more detail, and that governments consider establishing dedicated analytical units to establish a database to record prison sentences of global Jihadists, any reductions or pardons of their sentences, deportations, extraditions, and extraordinary renditions. This unit will also evaluate the prison profiles of key countries to determine the degree of jihadist radicalization of criminals and the success of their rehabilitation programs as it applies to incarcerated global jihadists. Further research needs to be conducted on the recidivism rate for terrorists and whether religious terrorists would have a higher rate than secular ones. Appendix