A Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

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Off-Ramp Opportunities in Material Support Cases

Off-Ramp Opportunities in Material Support Cases


Strategies to counter violent extremism in the United States have centered around preventing violent extremism before it takes hold. The need for intervention, rehabilitation, and reintegration once individuals have already headed down extremist pathways—and intersected with the criminal justice system—receives less consideration, but policymakers and practitioners are increasingly taking note of this void. Factors favoring the development of innovative off-ramp approaches include: the public safety imperative of preventing future violence and recidivism; the increased volume of investigations, rendering prosecution or long-term surveillance in every case impossible or impractical; mitigating circumstances such as the non-violent nature of some material support crimes and the youth of many offenders; and the long-term value of building trust for community partnerships. Program development should be evidence-based, relying upon a comprehensive international analysis, while tailored to incorporate U.S. constitutional requirements and cultural norms including protection of civil rights and civil liberties. This article explores the basis and opportunities for preventing future violence when charging and sentencing defendants who are either suspected or convicted of providing material support for terrorism.

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Berkell, Kelly A. 2017. "Off-Ramp Opportunities in Material Support Cases." Harvard National Security Journal 8 (February): 1-52. http://harvardnsj.org/2017/02/volume-8-issue-1/

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