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MINNEAPOLIS – 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.