Authors: Maria Moulin-Stożek – Jan Długosz University in Częstochowa; Alessandro Rosanò – University of Florence

There is little research on deradicalization in Poland. While Poland is a country at low risk of terrorism, still right-wing radicalisation with groups promoting fascist or even Nazi ideas are active in Poland. These groups spread their ideology harnessing feelings of polarization, grievances and alienation amongst the wider publics. Thus, there needs to be a realisation in Poland that radicalization is a problem in order later for deradicalization to be promoted.

One can note hate crimes an issue of pressing concern in Poland. In response, there is a need for state campaigns to raise awareness, including making training available for law enforcement officers, prosecutors and judges. At present, however, state institutions do not consider hate crimes as an issue of importance. The existing protections are limited and often ineffective. Courts can drop charges on hate speech arguing that the social harm that they cause is low. The courts, while suspending the execution of imposed penalties, should consider imposing criminal measures to count a few an obligation to refrain presence in specific environments or places or impose obligatory service for such communities as the ones that the perpetrator targeted.

However, the problem of hate speech cannot be resolved solely by means of criminal repression. It is foremost important to raise awareness and support educational activities in cooperation with civil society.

Another issue is the functioning of state institutions responsible for the prevention of radicalization. The expanding powers of services and police may result in possible violations of human rights.

Furthermore, a severe weakness of Polish approach to radicalization and deradicalization may be identified in that their governance is scattered among different institutional bodies such as the Ministry of Justice, the Polish Armed Forces, the Ministry of Interior Affairs, and other bodies at central, regional and local level. Thus, it is argued that for this system to be fully effective, it must be consistent with the protection of fundamental rights and there needs to be a level of transparency and collaboration between various bodies involved in preventing radicalization, including cooperation with non-governmental organizations and the media.

The case studies in the Polish report ‘De-radicalization and Integration. Legal & Policy Framework’ focus on deradicalization in prison and deradicalization and football supporters. As for the former, it is underlined that the Polish system does not have a specific program for radicalized inmates. However, considering that punishment in Poland is focused on social rehabilitation of the offenders, it involves developing individualized penitentiary activities the offenders may take part in including psycho-corrective programs, social skills training, and anger control trainings.

As for deradicalization and football supporters, hooliganism raises some issues in Poland as hooligans have been influenced by skinhead subculture. In order to promote deradicalization in football stadiums, some initiatives have been launched by an association that aims at promoting anti-racist attitudes among football fans.

According to the conclusions of the Polish report ‘De-radicalization and Integration. Legal & Policy Framework’, legal and policy framework in Poland needs to be improved to appropriately respond to radicalization and deradicalization. As a matter of fact, Polish legislation on radicalization follows a punitive approach. As Poland is a country with a low risk level of a terrorist attack, few people are observed for terrorist reasons. That is why the criminal justice system does not see deradicalization programs as a priority.

For more insights, see the REPORT >>, that provides a conceptual account on existing policies and laws addressing radicalisation, to pinpoint their most critical aspects and best practices, and to develop evidence-based policy and guidelines.