Should terrorists be rehabilitated?

Today the Havering Daily spoke with retired Detective Chief Inspector Peter Kirkham on the difficult topic of rehabilitation. Should terrorists be rehabilitated or not?

Following last week’s terrorist attack on London Bridge the question of rehabilitation and who should be reintegrated back into our society has once again become the topic of discussion. The key question being should all terrorists be rehabilitated or should there be tougher punishments?

Peter told the Havering Daily:

“It is a really difficult issue when it comes to terrorists. They aren’t like drug users or foolish youths that are the usual basis for rehabilitation. Normally rehabilitation is in the best interest for our society to prevent further offences.

“However, with a terrorist it is a mindset, something that is embedded in them. How deeply are these people embedded?

“We see from people’s beliefs in a political party how mindsets can occur but then with a terrorist it is an extreme. Their belief goes to the extremist side. This is where it becomes very difficult to reintegrate them back into our society.

“The different levels of a person’s involvement are vital too. Have they travelled abroad? A mindset like this can be very difficult to undo. Often they can pretend and say the right thing to make us believe they have changed and then something happens and it pushes them right back to where they were.

It’s worth noting here that most of us saw the video of the London Bridge stabber Usman Khan clearly stating he was not a terrorist and then going on to stab five people, killing two.

“It is incredibly difficult and there are many levels that have to be looked at. With a suspect like Usman Khan my own belief is that it would have been very risky to rehabilitate him as he was a high risk.

“People are involved in different degrees. We have seen many women who went with a promise of a wonderful life only to discover it wasn’t and then want to return.

“Another important factor is any release and rehabilitation involves more supervision which is a major cost.

“Rehabilitation is important in our community alongside protecting the public and deterrent sentences to stop others following along the same line.

“Significant offending needs to be punished and all aspects need to be taken into account. Protection of the public is vital. There is a difficult balance to strike.

“What level are these terrorists at? Have they travelled abroad? Are they going to be able to be rehabilitated? With deep travel then rehabilitation is surely a long way off. “

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