Israel: Rehabilitation of security prisoners a ‘waste of resources’

“They go back to the same cell block with the same murderers. You can’t rehabilitate them’

Israeli Prison Service officers refuse to acknowledge the effectiveness of rehabilitation efforts for Israeli and Palestinian security prisoners, despite the low recidivism rates of released inmates who have undergone drug rehab.

Israeli law requires the prison service to consider rehabilitating prisoners who are either Israeli citizens or residents.

Criminal inmates can choose to participate in therapy programs, work outside the detention center or undergo drug treatment.

But prison officials insist that security prisoners – those held for ideologically motivated crimes or for undermining national security – cannot be rehabilitated, Ha’aretz reported.

“You can’t rehabilitate ideological delinquency,” said former prison services intelligence chief Ilan Barda.

“There is no place… that has succeeded in treating people imprisoned for ideological delinquency. It would be a waste of resources.”

barda said Ha’aretz that while criminal prisoners continue their rehabilitation after their release, security prisoners do not follow up.

“Even in prison, after sending them to a program, they go back to the same cell block with the same murderers. You cannot rehabilitate them.

But according to Tomer Einat of Bar-Ilan University’s Department of Criminology, this perspective is groundless.

“The more rehabilitation and therapy programs you offer to prisoners tailored to their crimes, the more you reduce the chances that they will go back to committing crimes.”

“To say you can’t rehabilitate ideological prisoners is baseless…there is no study that shows a harsher sentence deters criminals,” Einat said. Ha’aretz.

According to a Prison Service study presented by the State Comptroller in 2021, the recidivism rate for Israeli and Palestinian security prisoners was around 18%, compared to 31% for criminal prisoners.

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