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On 10 and 11 April 2019, the IRZ, together with the General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR), organised a seminar in Casablanca on “Management of prison staff by the DGAPR”. The event was held as part of the “Cooperation with the Kingdom of Morocco on Prison Management” project, which is being supported by the German Foreign Office and coordinated by the IRZ between 2017 and 2020.
The seminar was organised for the part of the project dealing with improving HR development and staff management in prisons. The aim was to teach modern management methods and present incentives and upgrading systems for prison officers.
The IRZ experts attending the seminar were:
Nadine Franasik, Head of health-oriented personnel management at the young offenders’ institution in Berlin, and
Kathrin Braun, representing the Berlin Senate Administration for Justice, Consumer Protection and Anti-Discrimination.
The seminar was opened and moderated by the Head of Personnel for the General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR) in Morocco, Radouane Kouta. He presented the latest developments and efforts made by the DGAPR towards the reform of the prison system in Morocco. One of the main priorities of the DGAPR here is to develop a modern staff management system.
The seminar started by addressing the implementation of international standards in the training of prison staff. The main subject of discussion was the consolidation of human rights and alignment with international standards, such as the “Mandela Rules”. Selection criteria and job profiles for qualified staff were also important topics for discussion.
Efforts are currently being made in Morocco to modernise the entire staff recruitment system for the prison service and therefore to make work in prisons more appealing in general. Intense discussions also took place on the potential professional risks for people working in prisons. These were mainly about security issues in individual prisons and the increased psychological demands on staff through specific stresses involved in everyday prison life, such as overcrowding, violence amongst prisoners and the bribery of staff. The participants in the seminar then went on to discuss HR development and management in prisons. There are plans to introduce measures to improve the quality of staff training and incentives in Moroccan prisons. These include the creation of a committee for the development of selection criteria for prison officers and improvements in the establishment and documentation of the requirements of prison staff (questionnaires). To support reform efforts in the area of staff management, prison authorities will also use external trainers during this development phase.
During the seminar, a lively exchange of experiences took place with animated discussions, during which German experiences of staff management in prisons were presented. Since this subject is currently highly topical, the Moroccan prison authorities have expressed an ongoing requirement to continue these talks, which will be resumed in the autumn.
On 27 March 2019, high-profile expert talks were held in Rabat with members of the Committee for Justice, Legislation and Human Rights in the Moroccan parliament, representatives of the Moroccan Institute of Legal and Forensic Medicine (SMML) and the Moroccan Public Prosecutor’s Office. The discussions focussed on the current issues concerning the development of a professional code for forensic scientists in Morocco.
The event was part of a three-year project, which started in 2017 and is being led by the IRZ until the end of this year together with the Institute of Legal and Forensic Medicine at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. This project is being supported by the German Foreign Office as part of the Transformation Partnerships with North Africa/the Middle East.
Objectives of the project:
Supporting independent legal and forensic medicine in Morocco by providing continued training and education for forensic scientists,
supporting Moroccan partners in the development of a professional code and
improving the cooperation between the justice system and legal and forensic medicine by providing continued training for judges and public prosecutors in legal and forensic medicine.
The expert talks were a continuation of the discussions, which began last year, on the draft legislation for a professional code for forensic scientists in Morocco. The objective of the meeting was to have an open exchange about the current draft, both from the legislator’s point of view and from a practical point of view (forensic scientists and public prosecutors in Morocco). The event was the first joint exchange of experiences between forensic scientists, public prosecutors and parliamentarians on the draft version of a professional code.
Prof. Dr. Michael Bohnert, Head of the Institute of Legal and Forensic Medicine at the University of Würzburg, was appointed by the IRZ to take part in these discussions. Morocco was represented at a high level by the First Deputy to the President of the Committee for Justice, Legislation and Human Rights in the Moroccan parliament, the representative of the Chief Prosecutor’s Office at the Moroccan Public Prosecutor's Office and the Head of the Moroccan Institute of Legal and Forensic Medicine.
The following are some of the difficulties and challenges faced by forensic medicine in Morocco:
Lack of financial, institutional and organisational structures,
outstanding remuneration issues,
lack of experts,
need for new young talent and further training,
legal and personal protection for forensic scientists.
The intense discussions also focussed on specifying the scope of work for legal and forensic medicine and establishing quality standards for forensic investigations, such as autopsies, and for forensic reports. These topics will be dealt with in the draft legislation. All those attending the talks agreed that there should be a particular emphasis in the draft legislation on the important role played by legal and forensic medicine in supporting the work of the justice system and, above all, in guaranteeing a fair trial.
The Moroccan partners expressed great interest in continuing the discussions before the last reading of the draft legislation in the Moroccan parliament and the passing of the law, which is planned for June this year. Another meeting will therefore take place in the autumn on the specific issues concerned with implementing the law.
On 27 and 28 March 2019, the IRZ, together with the General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR) held a third seminar on “Social and psychological support for prisoners” in Casablanca, Morocco. The event was held as part of the “Cooperation with the Kingdom of Morocco on Prison Management” project, which is running from 2017 until 2020 with the support of the German Foreign Office.
Two experts from the Berlin prison system were appointed by the IRZ to speak at the seminar: Dr. Angelika Burghardt-Kühne, Psychologist, and Vera Schiepe, Group Leader, both of whom work at the Heidering penal institution.
Building on the previous seminars, the main focus of this event was on the following topics:
how prisoners deal with their crimes,
measures to support staff as they supervise prisoners,
support for reintegration measures through work-release programmes and
involvement of families in therapeutic measures.
For the reintegration of prisoners in Morocco, training and informal education measures are mainly offered to combat illiteracy and provide further training for prisoners. There are also measures in place for organising leisure activities and psychological support for prisoners. The DGAPR also offers a “national mental health programme” and a “national programme for preventing and combating drug addiction”. As part of the latter, working groups have been set up in five penal institutions to fight addiction in cooperation with the Ministry of Health. Social workers, social assistants, psychologists, and general practitioners work together in these working groups. Another important contribution towards the reintegration of prisoners is made by Moroccan civil society, with cultural programmes and training measures.
In Germany and Morocco, similar programmes are carried out for the reintegration and support of prisoners. In Germany, for example, a prisoner’s family is also involved in their reintegration measures, although this involvement is more limited than in Morocco. Another important programme in Germany helps prisoners to deal with their crimes, which is also set out in the law governing the prison system. By developing their appreciation of the problem, prisoners should be able to take responsibility for their actions. The prison officers’ ability to empathise and the joint development of alternative courses of action with prisoners have an important role to play here.
The experts from both countries established similar difficulties in the handling of certain groups of prisoners. Dealing with prisoners who refuse to come to terms with their crimes is a particular challenge in both countries, since participation in these programmes is voluntary in Morocco and Germany. In particular for high-risk offenders, the experts believe that there are only very limited treatment options available.
One of the main tasks for prison staff is to motivate prisoners to take part in reintegration measures. To ensure that staff are successful in this task, they need to be supported by therapeutic measures and an everyday climate that encourages treatment. Officers should be able to talk about their experiences in a protected environment. That’s why training courses covering various disciplines are essential as supporting measures.
For high-risk offenders, VERA 2 is a new European-wide instrument for assessing risk and this has already been introduced in the first German penal institutions. In Morocco, there continues to be a need for guidelines and handbooks so that social and psychological care for prisoners can be improved. The IRZ has, in close cooperation with its partners at the DGAPR, responded to this requirement with its project and set up a working group in this area as well. The objectives of this working group include appointing a pilot institution, in which a handbook planned by the working group will be introduced.