Transition management and stabilisation coaching

A phase of self-doubt and reflection on one’s own patterns of thought and behaviour as part of the training programme in prison is followed by the actual implementation of the targeted change after release from prison. Especially in this phase, the participants are still dependent on support. The stabilisation coaching, the optional support after release, represents the continuation of the training programme after imprisonment. It helps enshrine the newly learned conflict resolution strategies in everyday life and to distance oneself from extremist ideologies and group structures. It lasts 6 to 12 months per individual. A systemic approach is pursued throughout the process, and the results are activated in stabilisation coaching. In this context, families are also offered the support they need to help a family member reintegrate. The trainers are always available to the family as contact persons. The social support network established in cooperation with the relatives is activated in this phase. Generally, relatives stabilise the participants additionally after their release and support them. They catch them immediately after their discharge and help them keep a distance from the old scene. In this phase, probation officers are also explicitly involved in the stabilisation process. If necessary, they are accompanied by counselling and training programmes for probation officers.

The trainers, with whom a relationship of mutual trust exists through the training programme, are in regular, intensive contact with the participants during this time. They visit them on site and can be reached in case of acute problems. They also offer specific reorientation support. In addition to dealing with conflicts and stressful situations, the focus is now also on work, vocational training and education measures in the interest of a systemic approach. Successful reintegration into an environment of work or vocational training considerably reduces the risk of relapse, because taking responsibility for one’s own life is directly linked to the creation of legal income relationships.

This phase is often associated with failures and frustrations, which the participants have to endure. In this difficult situation, there is an enormous risk of relapse and the temptation to rejoin the familiar scene. The trainers help them avoid situations of conflict and maintain self-control. The trainers are also there to help the participants structure their daily and weekly schedules, safeguard their livelihoods and find a place to live. At the same time, key third parties, such as probation officers and other relevant government agencies, are involved. The intensity of the support depends on the needs of the participants. The goal is to only support the participants in their independent actions where it is necessary in order to gradually promote assumption of responsibility for their own lives. The stabilisation coaching provides the participants with important contact partners who know their history and the completed deradicalisation work because they have supported them along the way.

As a nation-wide NGO, Violence Prevention Network is supported in its deradicalisation efforts in prison as part of the structural development of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.