Although President Obama has not yet fulfilled his promise to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the population there is gradually shrinking as detainees are repatriated or released into the custody of foreign governments. The Miami Herald noted recently that of 116 remaining detainees, "52 are now approved for transfer... Ten other prisoners are in war-crimes proceedings, and another 54 are either candidates for war crimes trials or forever prisoners." As these detainees and others captured in counter-terrorism operations but not held in Guantanamo are processed and eventually transferred or otherwise released, the State Department is funding a program aimed at "strengthening the capacity of civil society organizations to support the rehabilitation and reintegration of violent extremist offenders and the reintegration of returning foreign terrorist fighters."
The State Department's Bureau of Counterterrorism recently announced a grant opportunity totaling $1.3 million entitled "Engaging Civil Society in Rehabilitation and Reintegration." The grant documents explain what the State Department hopes to accomplish:
CT [Bureau of Counterterrorism] invites organizations to submit proposal applications outlining a project concept and capacity to develop and manage such a program across three or more geographic regions. In pursuit of CT’s goal of reducing the recidivism of many released violent extremist offenders, this project supports the following CT objectives: build the capacity of civil society actors for the purpose of reintegrating violent extremist offenders and returning foreign terrorist fighters into communities; facilitate relationships of trust among civil society actors and governmental civilian and security sector authorities as concerns reintegration and the creation of supportive interpersonal networks; draw upon civil society capabilities to counter radicalization in prisons; and formulate, validate, and share good practices in this thematic area.
The document further explains the efforts to "counter radicalization in prisons":
Draw upon civil society capabilities to counter radicalization in prisons, especially with respect to legal services, counseling and basic and technical education provided to nonviolent, non-extremist offenders who may be falling under the influence of violent extremist ideologues and terrorist recruiters owing to comingling of inmates with very different risk profiles.
The grant notes that many returning terrorist fighters "are unlikely ever to be prosecuted successfully," and therefore "[i]nfluential members of communities, social support organizations, private sector employers, faith leaders, educational institutions, families and other non-governmental actors all can play vital roles in reintegration." The State Department hopes programs can be developed to help in "developing the networks, roles, and capacity of civil society and other non-governmental actors, leading ideally to stronger and more effective partnerships with governments."
The basis of the programs sought by the grant offering is the Global Counterterrorism Forum’s Rome Memorandum on Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Violent Extremist Offenders, and organizations applying for grant funds are encouraged to gain familiarity with that documents when formulating plans. The Memorandum contains 25 "good practices" to be observed during the process of reintroducing offenders into society.
An email to the State Department seeking to clarify which countries would be covered by the rehabilitation and reintegration program was not returned.