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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.
From 11 to 16 December 2017 the IRZ welcomed the first delegation from Algeria in Berlin to discuss the “reformation of the prison system and the resocialisation of prisoners”. The study visit was part of the new tandem project on the prison system between the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV) and the German Foreign Office (AA).
During their visit, the participants of the delegation, among them the Head of the Algerian prison authority, Mokhtar Felioune, learnt about the German prison system with a special focus on resocialisation programmes and the reintegration of prisoners.
Against this background, the delegation had meetings with the German Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and with the Senate Administration for the Judiciary, Consumer Protection and Anti-Discrimination of Berlin.
Besides attending these expert discussions, the Algerian guests visited three penal institutions: the open prison, the penal institution Heidering and the penal institution Plötzensee. They also met their German counterparts of the Social Services of the Judiciary, the Court and Probation Service of Berlin and the Penitentiary Training Institute.
Algeria has been carrying out major reforms and modernisation measures in its penal system for some years now, building, for instance, several new prisons and investing in particular into setting up training and resocialisation programmes.
Therefore, the visit provided an opportunity both for the Algerian and the German side to exchange experiences and discuss joint challenges such as the de-radicalisation of prisoners.
After this successful kick-off, the IRZ will continue to support the Algerian reform efforts as part of the BMJV-AA project in the following years.
Expert discussions at the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection with Ministerialrätin Sabine Hilgendorf-Schmidt (5th from left), Head of Division R B 6 "Law on Judges; Law on Judicial Officers; Remuneration Judges; Education and Training"
From 4 to 8 December 2017 the IRZ welcomed a delegation of representatives from the Algerian Ministry of Justice and the Algerian Judicial Training Institute to a study visit in Berlin for the first time dealing with "Education and Training of Judges in Germany".
The visit took place as part of the institutional funding of the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and marked the kick-off for the IRZ's cooperation with the Ministry of Justice and the judiciary in Algeria.
The delegation had expert discussions at the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Wustrau conference centre of the German Judicial Academy (DRA), the Local Court of Berlin-Tiergarten and the German Association of Judges.
During the meeting at the Ministry of Justice, the guests were provided with detailed information on the following topics:
systematics of the judicial education and training in Germany,
qualification for judicial office,
selection and appointment of judges and
cooperation of the judicial administrations of the federal government and the federal states with education and training institutions (universities, judicial academies).
At the German Academy of Judges, the delegation learnt about the Academy's tasks and activities as judicial training institution at federal government level and about the activities of judicial academies at federal states level. This included the involvement of the federal government and the federal states in the German Judicial Academy as regards financing and defining and implementing the curricula in the respective training programmes.
The meeting at the Local Court of Berlin-Tiergarten covered the Court's internal organisation, the professional practice of judges, the tasks and role of the Court's council of judges representing their interests, and the further training of judicial staff.
In all discussions, information about the recruiting of qualified young legal professionals for the judiciary and questions dealing with the official supervision of judges were in the Algerian guests' focus of interest.