Jordanian delegation in Berlin on a three-day study visit on the reintegration of prisoners

The Jordanian delegation at the Plötzensee prison
The Jordanian delegation at the Plötzensee prison

During a study visit to Berlin from 22 to 26 October 2018, members of a Jordanian delegation discussed the subject of “Classification, enforcement plans and the involvement of external parties as a basis for the successful reintegration of prisoners” with German experts. This visit by directors and deputy directors of Jordanian penal institutions provided them with practical experience and supplemented the seminar held in September this year in Amman on the same subject [LINK].

The first visit was to the women’s penal institution in Berlin. Here, Social Services Coordinator Carola Trömel and her colleague Sandra Rodrigues Silva provided general information on the prison and the specific features of women’s prisons, as well as on projects in cooperation with external providers. They discussed in more detail the “startklar” project, which offers advice and training on professional orientation and social reintegration for young women.

Afterwards, the Jordanian guests visited the Plötzensee prison, where they were welcomed by the Prison Director, Dr. Uwe Meyer-Odewald. This was followed by expert discussions with psychologist Andree and social worker Schulz. They explained the procedure for establishing an enforcement plan and presented various reintegration measures.

Over the course of the next two days, the delegation visited the open prison complex in Berlin, where director Thorsten Luxa presented the open prison concept, and the non-governmental organisation Violence Prevention Network e.V. Here, the Jordanian guests were able to learn about the structures of the cooperation between independent providers and prisons and about the measures used to deal with radicalised prisoners.

The three-day study visit gave the delegation an insight into the many different aspects of the German prison system and the cooperation with external parties. The Jordanian guests’ keen interest in the subject was clear from the interesting discussions and questions asked to the German partners. Even though they remarked that not all the measures could be implemented in Jordan due to differences in the initial situation, they were still extremely interested in learning about the German concepts. As a result, the study visit developed a greater awareness of the importance of individually adapted enforcement plans, which are implemented as well as possible under the local circumstances. The key role played by non-governmental parties was also discussed in detail and the potential for cooperation between prisons and non-governmental organisations in Jordan was talked through using examples.

Judges from the Jordanian Constitutional Court and Court of Cassation on a study trip to Strasbourg and Karlsruhe

Jordanian delegation at the Federal Constitutional Court
Jordanian delegation at the Federal Constitutional Court

From 8 to 12 October 2018 the IRZ received a Jordanian delegation in Karlsruhe and Strasbourg to shed light on “The position of the Constitutional Court within the jurisdiction" and "The cooperation between the highest court of appeal and the courts of lower instances“. The delegation was made up of judges from the Jordanian Constitutional Court and the Court of Cassation and was led by Mansour Hadidi, Vice-President of the Jordanian Constitutional Court. During their three-day study trip, they visited several courts of different instances.

To begin their visit, the delegation visited the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg. There, the participants were received by the ECHR Vice-President, Prof. Angelika Nußberger, who outlined the ECHR’s competences as opposed to those of the courts of the individual Member States of the European Union.

On their second working day, the Jordanian guests visited the Constitutional Court of Baden-Wuerttemberg where they had expert discussions with Court President Dr. Malte Graßhof. During their discussions, the Jordanian participants learnt about the tasks of a Regional Constitutional Court in the Federal Republic of Germany. The information was illustrated using various practical examples which were discussed in depth with the Jordanian colleagues.

The study trip ended on the third day with a visit to the Federal Constitutional Court and the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe. At the Federal Constitutional Court, the Federal Constitutional Court Judge Prof. Dr. Gabriele Britz and the former Federal Constitutional Court Judge Prof. Dr. Michael Eichberger exchanged their views with their Jordanian guests before the latter visited the Federal Court of Justice in the afternoon. The judges at the Federal Court of Justice, Dr. Ralph Bünger (Eighth Civil Panel), and Dr. Louisa Bartel (Second Criminal Panel), explained the structure and competences of the Federal Court of Justice. The visit was rounded off by a tour of the court premises.

The focus in all discussions was on the different competences and tasks of a constitutional court and a court of cassation. Both the German and Jordanian structures were intensely discussed, covering organisational and structural aspects of the different courts and also aspects as regards contents, and relating them to each other. The Jordanian judges gained a comprehensive insight into the German and European jurisdiction during the expert discussions with their German colleagues.

The study trip was organised as part of a judicial training project in Jordan running from 2017 to 2019 which is funded by the Federal Foreign Office.

Seminar in Amman on enforcement plans and the classification of prisoners and the involvement of external parties in the social reintegration process

Participants in the seminar
Participants in the seminar

On 4 and 5 September 2018, the IRZ in cooperation with the Jordanian prison authority organised a seminar on the “Classification of prisoners and enforcement plans” and the “Involvement of external parties representing the state and civil society in the social reintegration process”. This seminar took place as part of a Transformation partnership project on judicial training as a stabilising element of the rule of law in Jordan, which is being supported by the German Foreign Office and coordinated by the IRZ between 2017 and 2019.

The IRZ has maintained a very close and trusting working relationship for several years now with the Correction and Rehabilitation Centres Department at the Jordanian police, which ensured that this seminar took place in the usual pleasant and open working atmosphere. The seminar was opened by the newly appointed Director General of the Jordanian prison authority, Brigadier Ayman Al Awaysheh, who also participated throughout the entire event.

The following German representatives reported on the practices of the Berlin prison system:

  • Johanna Schmid, Department III Law Enforcement at the Berlin Senate for Justice, Consumer Protection and Anti-discrimination, and
  • Benjamin Horn, a social worker at the Berlin young offenders’ institution (criminal field: Admissions department - diagnosis).

The representatives from the Jordanian side were:

  • Colonel Ahed Al Sharaydeh, Director of the Training Institute for Jordanian penal institutions and
  • Major Ghazi Al Maaliah, Trainer at the Training Institute.

Over two working days, the participants discussed practical issues from the Jordanian and German point of view, with regard to the classification of prisoners and the development of enforcement and integration plans, as well as the involvement of external parties in the social reintegration process. Particular attention was paid to the question of dealing with religiously radicalised prisoners and preventing radicalisation in prisons, since this is a topic that has become increasingly significant in the German prison system as well.

Participants from the Jordanian prison system included the director of the Jordanian prison authority, the heads of Jordanian detention facilities and the director and employees of the training academy for Jordanian penal institutions. The state agencies involved in the social reintegration process were represented by people from the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.

Parties not representing the government included representatives from the following institutions:

  • the Jordanian National Centre for Human Rights,
  • the national association supporting detention facilities,
  • the cultural association for the follow-up care of released prisoners and
  • the society for occupational training.

The existing cooperation between the Jordanian prison authority and non-governmental parties from civil society in the social reintegration process can definitely be expanded to cover a wider basis. All those involved took part in lively, constructive and open discussions on both days of the seminar, which led to numerous ideas for closer collaboration in future.