Working group meeting on prison matters in Algiers
Working group meeting on prison matters in Algiers

On 12 and 13 June 2019, the third working group meeting was held in Algiers on the subjects “Cooperation with external parties” and “Training prison staff”. The IRZ organised the event as part of a tandem project, which is being supported by the German Foreign Office and the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and is running for two years until the end of 2019.

The cooperation in four themed working groups should guarantee that the project fulfils as many requirements as possible. The focus of this meeting was on continuing to work on recommended actions for the Algerian prison system. These recommendations for action are the planned outcome for this project.

Representing the German side at the event on behalf of the IRZ were the following law enforcement experts from North Rhine-Westphalia and Berlin:

  • Kai Abraham, representing Department III at the Berlin Senate Administration for Justice, Consumer Protection and Anti-discrimination;
  • Alexander Gundlach, a prison inspector and lecturer at the training centre for Berlin Law Enforcement,
  • Andreas Illerhaus, Ministry of Justice for North Rhine-Westphalia, Department IV Law Enforcement, Section IV B 3 Organisation & Logistics Law Enforcement and
  • Daniela Mlynek, Head of Employment and Qualification at the JVA Heidering prison in Berlin.

In the working group on “Cooperation with external parties”, this third meeting focussed primarily on cooperation with companies. The Algerian prison authorities are interested in expanding their partnerships with external companies. On the one hand, this should create additional jobs for prisoners during their prison sentences. It can also be important for the prisoners’ job opportunities after leaving prison and help with their reintegration. The members of the working group also talked about the security issues involved in working with representatives from civil society, e.g. the instruction and monitoring of external parties.

In the working group on “Training prison staff”, the experts from North Rhine-Westphalia and Berlin started by presenting the detailed contents of the curriculum for German prisons in the areas of enforcement duties, the development of delinquency, treatment, education and support, as well as communications and conflict management. The Algerian participants were particularly interested in learning about communications and conflict management and there were discussions as to whether this dimension should be developed still further in the Algerian prison curriculum.

Overall, the participants said that the working atmosphere was remarkably good and trusting. They also said that the meeting was very productive in terms of the development of recommendations. Both working groups will meet up once again this year in Algiers. A conference is planned for November 2019 in Algiers to conclude the project.