Involvement in violent extremism is not a one-way street. People can change – and some really do change. Understanding how and why they change, constitutes actionable knowledge that brings immense practical benefits. Such knowledge may help in designing initiatives aimed at persuading people to leave violent extremist groups as well as reducing the risk of re-engagement in violent extremism in the future.
Deradicalization programs are not a magic solution. Not everyone who engages in violent extremism is necessarily going to benefit from such interventions, and no program can ever expect to produce complete success. Yet, they continue to show promise. Deradicalization programs can be effective for some and, if subjected to greater evaluation efforts, may prove far more beneficial than is currently believed. Despite an abundance (and apparent increase) in programming, a continued lack of evaluation work both fuels skepticism and hinders our ability to believe that there is a strong future for these programs.
The paper is available here.