Europe is in the midst of an urgent debate about the causes of radicalization and the best ways of combating it. European governments are anxious to begin programs to “deradicalize” their citizens, even though no one is quite sure whether or how it will work. Still, they are investing millions of dollars in the effort.
In the fall of 2016, the French government will open its first “Center for Reinsertion and Citizenship” in the town of Beaumont-en-Veron, in western France. This will be the first non-carceral institution that will provide supervision 24 hours a day, for 30 young people in whom there is a “clear rupture with the Republic,” for up to ten months. Some residents of the town have expressed concerns about security, so the government has kept relatively quiet about many of the specifics.
A dozen more such centers are slated to open around the country in the next two years. Though the details are still being finalized, it is thought that the centers will offer psychotherapy, professional formation, and coursework in “values.” Operation costs are estimated at more than 1.5 million euros per year.
Journalist Elisabeth Zerofsky visited the new center to get a sense of just how the government plans to go about doing this work. She also looks at a number of previous deradicalization programs in France, also funded with government money, that may have had unverifiable results.