US

German expert says de-radicalizing radicals can work in US

  • Daniel Koehler, who directs the German Institute on Radicalization and De-radicalization Studies in Stuttgart, Germany. poses for a photo, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016 in Minneapolis, Koehler, a German expert who evaluated six Minnesota men who pleaded guilty to trying to join the Islamic State group has developed counseling plans for each of them aimed at keeping them off the path of violence (AP Photo/Steve Karnowski)

    Daniel Koehler, who directs the German Institute on Radicalization and De-radicalization Studies in Stuttgart, Germany. poses for a photo, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016 in Minneapolis, Koehler, a German expert who evaluated six Minnesota men who pleaded guilty to trying to join the Islamic State group has developed counseling plans for each of them aimed at keeping them off the path of violence (AP Photo/Steve Karnowski)  (The Associated Press)

  • Kevin Lowry, chief U.S. probation officer for Minnesota poses for a photo, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016 in Minneapolis., Kevin Lowry, who says his office can successfully implement the program. The federal probation office in Minneapolis has trained 20 to 25 probation officers in de-radicalization methods developed by the German Institute on Radicalization and De-radicalization Studies.  Lowry says his office can successfully implement the program. (AP Photo/Steve Karnowski)

    Kevin Lowry, chief U.S. probation officer for Minnesota poses for a photo, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016 in Minneapolis., Kevin Lowry, who says his office can successfully implement the program. The federal probation office in Minneapolis has trained 20 to 25 probation officers in de-radicalization methods developed by the German Institute on Radicalization and De-radicalization Studies. Lowry says his office can successfully implement the program. (AP Photo/Steve Karnowski)  (The Associated Press)

A German expert who evaluated six Minnesota men who pleaded guilty to trying to join the Islamic State group has developed counseling plans for each of them aimed at keeping them off the path of violence.

Daniel Koehler (KOO'-luhr), who directs the German Institute on Radicalization and De-radicalization Studies, said in an interview Wednesday that de-radicalization can work if offenders are willing. But he acknowledged there's insufficient data for calculating recidivism rates. He also acknowledged there's a risk that people will simply tell authorities what they want to hear.

Still, Koehler says it's important to work with them because most terrorism offenders get out of prison eventually. And if there's no intervention in the meantime, he says, they'll radicalize others in prison and emerge even more committed to their cause.