For immediate release | Wednesday, May 22, 2019

John Walker Lindh’s Release Raises an Opportunity & Risk

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CEP Report Warns Released Terrorists Could Return to Jihad Unless Rehabilitated & Reintegrated

(New York, N.Y.) – Tomorrow marks the release of John Walker Lindh, an American captured in Afghanistan while fighting for the Taliban just after the September 11 terrorist attacks. The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) has warned of the societal crisis facing America as more jihadist convicts like Lindh are released back into society over the next decade. In CEP’s December 2018 report, “When Terrorists Come Home: The Need for Rehabilitating and Reintegrating America’s Convicted Jihadists,Parallel Networks founder Mitchell Silber presented potential solutions to reduce terrorists’ rate of recidivism back into violence and extremism once released. 

“The government’s current policy is to drop former terrorists off on the side of the road without the resources and counseling to keep them away from nefarious organizations and influences,” said Silber. “Federal courts and officials must address community-based rehabilitation programs, housing, health care and employment for recently released terrorists not for altruistic purposes, but for pragmatic ones. Institutionalized support systems will lessen the likelihood that a terrorist returns to their former ways and harm more Americans once released.”

Mitch Silber was the New York Police Department’s former Director of Intelligence Analysis. In the report, he assesses how prison time and life after prison, as currently structured, make it more likely a terrorist prisoner will relapse. The report features four recommendations to change this status quo. These include establishing a Bureau of Prisons program to begin rehabilitating former violent extremist terrorists well in advance of their release, community and nationwide programs to develop terrorist re-entry programs, court-ordered participation in such programs and recruiting former extremists to serve as mentors.

To access the report online, please click here.