Focusing only on prosecuting and imprisoning suspected terrorists may be insufficient to prevent people who have committed terrorist acts from doing so again, also after they have served a prison term.

Where there are large numbers of terrorism suspects it also risks overstretching the resources of criminal justice systems. In some contexts, such as the return of foreign terrorist fighters and their families from Syria, Iraq or other conflict zones, there are also other persons associated with terrorist groups, many of them victims of abduction, coercion and exploitation, including children.

Recognizing that an approach limited to security and punishment is inadequate to deal with these situations, the UN Security Council and General Assembly have called on Member States to develop and implement “comprehensive and tailored strategies for the prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration” (PRR) of terrorism suspects, including foreign terrorist fighters, and members of their families.

Comprehensive and tailored strategies for PRR should:

    • not focus solely on prosecution and punishment, but take a broader approach, including rehabilitation and reintegration
    • be based on a whole-of-government approach
    • involve also civil society actors
    • avoid being based on stereotypes regarding the roles of men and women in terrorist groups, and pay particular attention to the situation of women and children who were associated with the terrorist group

UNODC is a leading technical assistance provider with regard to the development and implementation of PRR strategies. Crucially, in addition to its terrorism prevention expertise (including on FTF cases link to FTF page), we bring expertise in the fields of prison reform and the management of violent extremist prisoners, justice for children and preventing violence against children, gender dimensions  and women’s rights in responding to terrorism.


UNODC partners with other UN entities, such as the Office of Counter-Terrorism, the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, the UNDP and the International Organization for Migration, as well as the European Union, to deliver technical assistance on PRR strategies.

Regional organizations

Following assistance from UNODC and other UN partners, the Lake Chad Basin Commission and African Union developed the Regional Strategy on the Screening, Prosecution, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (SPRR) of Boko Haram Associated Persons in the Lake Chad Basin Countries. Since then, we have been providing expert advice to the Lake Chad Basin Commission and its member States on PRR.