Recognizing Individuals Prone to Spreading Extremist Ideology in Prison



The problem of the research is to identify persons potentially capable of spreading violent ideology at the stage of arrival in a penal institution, during the mandatory psychodiagnostic examination of inmates. The aim of the study was to build a probabilistic model for identifying disseminators of extremist-terrorist ideology. The subject of the study was behavioural characteristics and profiles of protective mechanisms of those convicted of extremist-terrorist crimes. The research methods were expert assessment of behavioural characteristics of convicts and the LSI (Life Style Index) test, which allows to determine behavioural and emotional features of an individual based on the defence mechanisms. Comparison of the behavioural characteristics of persons capable, according to the assessment of the staff, of spreading the ideology of violence, largely corresponded to the behavioural characteristics of the functioning of such defence mechanisms as projection, compensation and reactive formation. At the same time, the behavioural characteristics of individuals with a low probability of propagating extremist-terrorist ideology corresponded to the functioning of defence mechanisms: suppression, regression and intellectualisation. Further research is expected to identify the personal characteristics of inmates vulnerable to radicalisation in prison.

General Information

Keywords: convicts, extremism, terrorism, ideology, recognition, defence mechanisms, probabilistic model

Journal rubric: Methodological Problems of Legal Psychology

Article type: scientific article


Received: 05.02.2024


For citation: Bovin B.G., Kazberov P.N., Dikopoltsev D.E. Recognizing Individuals Prone to Spreading Extremist Ideology in Prison [Elektronnyi resurs]. Psikhologiya i pravo = Psychology and Law, 2024. Vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 17–32. DOI: 10.17759/psylaw.2024140202. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


  1. Blackburn R. Psikhologiya kriminal’nogo povedeniya [The psychology of criminal conduct]. Saint Petersburg: Piter, 2004. 496 p. (In Russ.).
  2. Bovina I.B., Bovin B.G., Tikhonova A.D. Radikalizatsiya: sotsial’no-psikhologicheskii vzglyad (Chast’ I) [Radicalisation: A Social Psychological Perspective (Part I)] [Elektronnyi resurs]. Psikhologiya i parvo = Psychology and Law, 2020. Vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 120–142. doi:10.17759/psylaw.2020100309 (In Russ.).
  3. Kazberov P.N., Bovin B.G. Obshchaya kharakteristika lits, osuzhdennykh za prestupleniya ekstremistskoi i terroristicheskoi napravlennosti [General characteristics of persons convicted of extremist and terrorist crimes] [Elektronnyi resurs]. Psikhologiya i parvo = Psychology and Law, 2019. Vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 36–53. doi:10.17759/psylaw.2019090103 (In Russ.).
  4. Kernberg O.F. Tyazhelye lichnostnye rasstroistva. Strategii psikhoterapii [Severe Personality Disorders]. Moscow: Klass, 2016. 464 p. (In Russ.).
  5. Laplanche J., Pontalis J.-B. Slovar’ po psikhoanalizu [Vocabulaire De La Psychanalyse; The Language of Psycho-Analysis]. Moscow: Vysshaya shkola, 1996. 623 p. (In Russ.).
  6. Leibin V.M. Postklassicheskii psikhoanaliz. Entsiklopediya. Tom 1. Moscow: Izdatel’skii dom “Territoriya budushchego”, 2006. 472 p. (In Russ.).
  7. McWilliams N. Psikhoanaliticheskaya diagnostika. Ponimanie struktury lichnosti v klinicheskom protsesse [Psyhoanalytic Diagnosis. Understanding Personaly Structure in the Clinical Process]. Moscow: Klass, 2015. 592 p. (In Russ.).
  8. Mokretsov A.I. Izbrannye trudy. Moscow: NII FSIN Publ., 2010. 275 p. (In Russ.).
  9. Oganesyan S.S., Bovin B.G., Kazberov P.N., Dikopoltsev D.E. Problema rasprostraneniya religioznogo ekstremizma v mestakh lisheniya svobody [The issue of religious extremism spread in places of detention]. Vedomosti Ugolovno-ispolnitel’noi sistemy = Vedomosti of the Penitentiary System, 2019, no. 6 (205), pp. 51–59. (In Russ.).
  10. Khrustaleva N.S. (Eds.). Psikhologiya krizisnykh i ekstremal’nykh situatsii: individual’nye zhiznennye krizisy, agressiya i ekstremizm. Saint Petersburg: Izdatel’stvo SPbGU, 2016. 444 p. (In Russ.).
  11. Romanova E.S., Grebennikov L.R. Mekhanizmy psikhologicheskoi zashchity: genezis, funktsionirovanie, diagnostika. Mytishchi: Talant, 1996. 144 p. (In Russ.).
  12. Talanov V.L., Malkina-Pykh I.G. Spravochnik prakticheskogo psikhologa. Moscow: Eksmo, 2003. 928 p. (In Russ.).
  13. Penichel O. Psikhoanaliticheskaya teoriya nevrozov [The Psychoanalytic. Theory of Neurosis]. Moscow: Akademicheskii Proekt, 2005. 848 p. (In Russ.).
  14. Freud A. Ego i mekhanizmy zashchity [The ego and the mechanisms of defence]. Moscow: Astrel’, 2008. 160 p. (In Russ.).
  15. Yurevich A.V. Metodologiya i sotsiologiya psikhologii. Moscow: Institut psikhologii RAN Publ., 2010. 272 p. (In Russ.).
  16. Doosje B., Moghaddam F.M., Kruglanski A.W., de Wolf A., Mann L., Feddes A.R. Terrorism, radicalization, and de-radicalization. Current Opinion in Psychology, 2016. Vol. 11, pp. 79–84. doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2016.06.008
  17. Elshimi M.S. Introduction. In Elshimi M.S. (Ed.). De-Radicalisation in the UK Prevent Strategy: Security, Identity and Religion. Abington: Routledge, 2017, pp. 1–19.
  18. European Union Terrorism Situation and Trend report (TE-SAT) 2020 [Elektronnyi resurs]. European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation. URL: (Accessed 26.01.2024).
  19. King M., Taylor D.M. The Radicalization of Homegrown Jihadists: A Review of Theoretical Models and Social Psychological Evidence. Terrorism and Political Violence, 2011. Vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 602–622. doi:10.1080/09546553.2011.587064
  20. Kruglanski A.W., Gelfand M., Bélanger J.J., Shaveland A., Hettiarachchi M., Gunaratna R. The psychology of radicalization and deradicalization: How significance quest impacts violent extremism. Political Psychology, 2014. Vol. 35, no. S1, pp. 69–93. doi:10.1111/pops.12163
  21. Lloyd M. Extremist risk assessment: A directory. Actors and Narratives. Full report, 2019 [Elektronnyi resurs]. Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST). URL: (Accessed 26.01.2024).
  22. Millana L. Terrorism and violence is Spanish prisons: A Brief Glimpse into Prison Environment: Personal Experiences and Reflections. In Martín Ramírez J., Abad-Quintanal G. (Eds.). Cross-Cultural Dialogue as a Conflict Management Strategy. Verlag: Springer International Publishing, 2018. P. 138–153.
  23. Risk assessment in prison. European Commission. 2021 [Elektronnyi resurs]. Migration and Home Affairs. URL: pap_risk_assessment_in_prison_20210210_en.pdf (Accessed 26.01.2024).
  24. Sarma K.M. Risk assessment and the prevention of radicalization from nonviolence into terrorism. American Psychologist, 2017. Vol. 72, no. 3, pp. 278–288. doi:10.1037/amp0000121
  25. Vaillant G.E. Theoretical hierarchy of adaptive ego mechanisms: A 30-year follow-up of 30 men selected for psychological health. Archives of General Psychiatry, 1971. Vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 107–118. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1971.01750080011003

Information About the Authors

Boris G. Bovin, PhD in Psychology, Docent, Leading Researcher, Federal State Institution Research Institute of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Pavel N. Kazberov, PhD in Psychology, Leading Researcher, Research Institute of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Dmitry E. Dikopoltsev, PhD in Psychology, Deputy Head of the Center, Head of Department, Research Institute of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



Total: 22
Previous month: 0
Current month: 22


Total: 10
Previous month: 0
Current month: 10