The delegation from the Algerian prison authorities in discussions with German experts
The delegation from the Algerian prison authorities in discussions with German experts

On 8 April 2018, the first meeting of the reform commission for the Algerian prison system was held in Algiers. The commission was set up in December 2017 as part of the IRZ project for supporting the reform of the Algerian prison system . From 2017 until 2019, the project is being supported by the German Federal Foreign Office (AA) and the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV).

The objective of the meeting was to plan and develop the next steps for the project. The project is being led from the Algerian side by the Director of Prison Services, Mokhtar Felioune. The IRZ was represented at the meeting by Dr. Stefan Cassone and Andreas Illerhaus from the Ministry of Justice for the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany and Kai Abraham from the Berlin Senate for Justice, Consumer Protection and Anti-discrimination.

The main topics of conversation determined by the participants were the social reintegration of prisoners and the involvement of external actors in the social reintegration process. With this in mind, the project plans to set up four working groups, which will work on practical recommendations for the following areas:

  • The humane treatment of prisoners,
  • The establishment of individual enforcement plans and the classification of prisoners and
  • Cooperation with associations and actors from civil society.
The Algerians have also expressed a wish to include the continuous training of prison staff as an additional focal point.

The cooperation in working groups should guarantee that the project fulfils as many requirements as possible. It should allow the experts to address the actual requirements for reform in Algeria and develop target-oriented recommendations. At the end of the project, a handbook and recommendations for staff working in the Algerian prison system will be produced.

The Algerians expressed a keen interest in an exchange with the German prison system and appear to be taking the reforms that have already been introduced very seriously. The next event planned for this project is due to take place in Algiers in May 2018.