A view of the seminar room
A view of the seminar room

On 19 November 2018, a second 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 law enforcement experts from Berlin and North Rhine-Westphalia:

  • Rudolf Baum, Head of the Social Services Department, North Rhine-Westphalia Law Enforcement;
  • Andreas Illerhaus, Ministry of Justice for North Rhine-Westphalia, Department IV Law Enforcement, Section IV B 3 Organisation & Logistics Law Enforcement;
  • Kai Abraham, an advisor in Department III at the Berlin Senate for Justice, Consumer Protection and Anti-Discrimination;
  • Alexander Gundlach, a prison inspector and lecturer at the training centre for Berlin Law Enforcement.

The aim of the working groups is to develop handbooks and recommendations for the reform of the Algerian prison system throughout the course of the project. On the subject of cooperation with external parties, the focus was mainly on work with non-governmental organisations concerning the reintegration of prisoners. Although there are many civil society associations in Algeria, they are extremely poorly organised and do not have sufficient knowledge of the specific features and problem areas concerning law enforcement. The German speakers therefore introduced the system of prison advisory committees as an opportunity to open up the system and involve various external parties in prisons. In Algeria, it is now a question of raising more awareness in civil society for the prison system and gaining them as long-term, reliable partners to work alongside.

When it came to the subject of “Training prison staff”, the focus at this meeting was on further education. The German experts presented the training opportunities available in Berlin and NRW. These include compulsory training sessions on security issues such as weapons and self-defence, as well as courses on personnel management, communication and behaviour, business and management and various health topics.

The Algerian and German participants took part in lively discussions and were extremely interested in a more in-depth exchange. The discussions on these subjects will continue at a further meeting in 2019.