Reducing the Risk of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism in Lebanese Prisons for SFCG: Baseline and Needs Assessment

September 24, 2020


Lebanon, located at the crossroads of multiple regional conflicts, has faced significant challenges to its internal stability and security. Historical conflicts with Israel, coupled with the Syrian war and its consequences, have resulted in complex military confrontations and a high concentration of refugees. This context has given rise to pockets of radicalization in various parts of the country, including Saida, Tripoli, Arsal, Beirut’s suburbs, and Bekaa. The ongoing conflicts, coupled with historical grievances tied to political and economic marginalization and religious discrimination, have made Lebanon’s youth vulnerable to recruitment for violent conflicts.

In response to this growing threat, the Lebanese government adopted a National Strategy for Preventing Violent Extremism in 2018. This strategy encompasses nine pillars of intervention and involves various government ministries, including the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities and the Ministry of Justice. Their commitments include building the capacity of prison administrators, reforming prison conditions to prevent extremist ideology, and training and rehabilitating prisoners linked to violent extremism.

Lebanon’s prison system faces severe challenges, with overcrowded, poorly ventilated, and inadequately lit cells. This has led to regular unrest, especially in Roumieh prison. In this context, Search for Common Ground (SFCG) advocates for a preventive approach to address the root causes of violent extremism. SFCG’s strategy focuses on building community relations and engagement with law enforcement officers to reduce violent extremism.

Triangle’s Assessment:

  • Contextual Understanding: The project thoroughly presents the complex context of Lebanon, highlighting the historical and contemporary factors contributing to radicalization and violent extremism. This contextualization is crucial for understanding the challenges and risks in the prison system.
  • Alignment with Objectives: The project’s objectives align with the National Strategy for Preventing Violent Extremism and SFCG’s approach. It aims to assess prison staff and detainee needs, investigate drivers of radicalization, and analyze interaction dynamics between prisoners, families, and communities. These objectives are well-aligned with the project’s goals.
  • Systematic Inquiry: The research questions are structured to address various aspects, including the needs of prison staff and detainees, drivers of radicalization, and community interactions. This systematic approach ensures a comprehensive assessment.
  • Adaptive Methodology: The mixed-method approach, combining quantitative and qualitative tools, demonstrates adaptability to the complexity of the research. The project encompasses policy mapping, institutional assessment, baseline indicators, and identification of radicalization drivers.
  • Data Collection Strategies: The proposed data collection methods, such as key informant interviews, focus group discussions, and baseline surveys, are well-suited to gather diverse perspectives. The sampling strategies are outlined clearly to ensure representation.
  • Analysis Framework: The project outlines a comprehensive analysis process, including qualitative and quantitative data analysis. This approach allows for a deep understanding of the research findings and ensures rigor in the assessment.
  • Structured Reporting: The reporting process involves multiple phases, including an inception phase, preliminary findings presentation, draft evaluation report, and final evaluation report. This structured approach ensures transparency and stakeholder engagement throughout the research.
  • Quality Assurance: The project emphasizes feedback loops and collaboration with SFCG and stakeholders. This iterative approach enhances the quality of the research and its relevance to program design and implementation.

Baseline Study and Needs Assessment for Reducing the Risk of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism in Lebanese Prisons


August 2020 – December 2020

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