Participants in the workshop
Participants in the workshop

On 25 and 26 September 2018, a working group meeting was held in Algiers on the subjects “Cooperation with external parties in prisons” and “Training prison staff”. The event was held as part of the IRZ project to support the reform of the Algerian prison system, which is being carried out between 2017 and 2019 using funds from the German Federal Foreign Office.

Representing the German side at the event were the following experts:

  • Andreas Illerhaus and Rudolf Baum, North Rhine-Westphalia Law Enforcement, and
  • Kai Abraham and Alexander Gundlach, Berlin Law Enforcement.

During the workshop, the experts were given the opportunity to visit the El-Harrach prison in Algiers and the training facilities for Algerian law enforcement. The El-Harrach prison is the largest penal institution in Algeria and the only one in the urban district of Algiers.

The focus of the visit was on support and training options for prisoners. The involvement of external parties plays a crucial role here. And so the Algerian prison system has developed comprehensive partnership programmes with various ministries, including the Ministries of Education, Health and Employment. This has allowed reintegration measures to be built up significantly.

The position is somewhat more difficult with regard to the involvement of civil society in the prison system. Further efforts are required here when it comes to raising awareness amongst non-governmental organisations of the specific features and problem areas concerning law enforcement.

The subject “Further training of prison staff” was brought to light by a visit to the prison service school. The school was praised by the German experts, who found it to be extremely modern and complying with international standards. The Algerians were particularly interested in the selection of prison service staff, as well as the development of training courses.

There were intense and open discussions between the German and Algerian representatives. The Algerian partners were very interested in learning about the German system and getting ideas for their own reform process. The subject will be looked at in more detail at a second meeting due to take place this year.