Understanding violent extremism: Socio-demographic, criminal and psychopathological background characteristics of detainees residing in Dutch terrorism wings

Gaby Thijssen*, Erik Masthoff, Jelle Sijtsema, Stefan Bogaerts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

In the past decades, Europe has been shocked repeatedly by terrorist crimes. This has led to an influx of suspects and convicts of terrorism in the prison system. The aim of this study is to provide insight into socio-demographic, psychopathological and criminal background characteristics of convicted violent extremists. Retrospective analyses were conducted on primary source data from 82 convicts in Dutch prison terrorism wings. Results showed that violent extremists are a heterogeneous group regarding socio-demographic characteristics. About 60% of the population had previously been convicted of ordinary crimes and a third suffered from a mental disorder. To gain more insight into violent extremists, additional research is needed into motivational and other risk factors. The latter is a necessary step to improve the identification, risk assessment, and effective treatment of violent extremists.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalCriminology & Criminal Justice
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2022

Keywords

  • Criminal antecedents
  • psychopathology
  • socio-demographic characteristics
  • terrorism wings
  • violent extremism
  • RISK-ASSESSMENT
  • RADICALIZATION
  • DISORDER

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