TAIEX study visit from a high-ranking delegation representing Jordanian law enforcement agencies to the IRZ in Bonn

During their stay in Germany, a high-ranking delegation representing Jordanian law enforcement agencies visited the IRZ in Bonn on 9 March 2016. The study visit took place as part of the European Commission's TAIEX support programme.

Under the leadership of General Mohammad Al Kharabsheh, Head of the Judicial Police Force at the Police Headquarters in Jordan, and Brigadier Sameer Bakeer, Director of the Prison Service in Jordan, the delegation learned about "Fundamental security measures and dynamic security concepts in penal institutions" during their visit to Germany from 7 to 11 March.

The guests also took part in expert discussions with the Bremen Senate for Justice and the Constitution, with the IRZ in Bonn, at the Higher Regional Court of Oldenburg, at the "Ambulanter Justizsozialdienst Niedersachsen" (a walk-in centre for legal and social affairs for Lower Saxony) in Oldenburg and at penal institutions in Bremen, Bremerhaven and Oldenburg. The leadership and organisation of the study trip was in the expert hands of Torben Adams, the prison director of a young offenders' institute in Bremen and a project leader at the Bremen Senate for Justice and the Constitution. As an expert for the IRZ, he devised the entire programme for the visit and accompanied the delegation to all their meetings. Torben Adams is an acknowledged expert in Jordanian penal institutions and between 2012 and 2014 was a team leader involved in the successful implementation of prison reform in Jordan, which was led by the IRZ and funded by an EU grant.

During the visit to the IRZ in Bonn, the guests were introduced to current developments and EU practices in terms of dynamic security concepts during enforcement, follow-up care or the reintegration of offenders, as well as to alternative penal sanctions, and their potential for application in Jordan was discussed. For the Jordanian guests, references to similar problem areas in other partner countries of the IRZ were also very illuminating.

Against the background of a significant increase in the crime rate, which is also related to the high levels of migration to Jordan from neighbouring crisis regions, the security aspect has definitely been brought to the fore for the Jordanian authorities, as well as for the Jordanian public as opposwd to alternative law enforcement measures. Weighing this issue therefore represents a major challenge for the future development of the penal system in Jordan.

Workshop on the Penitentiary Reform in Jordan

Speakers and participants of the workshop in Amman

Speakers and participants of the workshop in Amman

A workshop on the topic „Post Care Advancement – A Comparative Approach" took place from 29th September to 1st October 2014 in Amman. Within three days, about 25 participants of the event, which was conducted by the Training Center of The Correction and Rehabilitation Center (CRCD, Jordanian penal authority), had an opportunity to compare the experience and development approaches in the Kingdom of Jordan with the after-care system for prisoners in Lower Saxony. This issue was followed by intense discussions with ideas on a further development in this area in Jordan and the participants drew up specific proposals. The event, attended by the staff of the CRCD and employees of several Jordanian NGOs, has to be seen in the context of the bilateral cooperation between the IRZ on the German side and the Public Security Department (PSD, supreme police authority) on the Jordanian side.

In January of this year, the EU grant project "Support to Penitentiary Reform in Jordan" with the IRZ as a lead partner of the Consortium was successfully completed after two years. As a follow-up, the IRZ plans to continue its cooperation with Jordanian penitentiary authorities on a further reform of the penitentiary system in Jordan. Based on the project results, the cooperation will be pursued in areas of particular importance within single project components. For this purpose, a series of mutual workshops with the PSD and CRCD are planned.

The workshop "Post Care Advancement" - the first event in this series - was conducted by the former team leader of the aforementioned EU grant project on the penitentiary reform Torben Adams and the Presiding Judge of the Higher Regional Court Dr. Stefan von der Beck, who had already participated as an expert in the mentioned grant project. Talks with high-ranking representatives of the PSD, emphasizing the mutual desire of a fruitful continuation of the successful bilateral cooperation, took place in the margins of the workshop.

Final ceremony: Support to the Penitentiary Reform

The success of the project was pointed out in final ceremony, here: gratitude for Torben Adams

The success of the project was pointed out in final ceremony, here: gratitude for Torben Adams

On 23 January 2014 the final ceremony of the EU-funded Grant Project "Support to the Penitentiary System in Jordan" took place in the, concluding an outstandingly successful project after a two-year period, implemented by the IRZ as managing organisation in cooperation with the French partner Justice Coopération Internationale (JCI).

General Tawfiq Al Tawalbeh, Director General of Jordan's Supreme Police Authority, was the patron of the ceremony. The penitentiary system in Jordan is supervised by the Home Office and thus the Penitentiary Directorate of the Jordanian Police Authority was the beneficiary of the project. Among the honorary guests of the ceremony was the delegation of the European Union, represented by the First Counsellor Head of Operations Section, Mr. Ibrahim Laafia. The IRZ was represented by its Director Dirk Mirow. For the JCI its Director Karima Zouaoui took part in the ceremony.

The project with a total budget of more than € 1.5 million made an important contribution to the reform of Jordan's penitentiary system in terms of international and European standards, including improvements regarding the structures and the management in the Penitentiary Directorate and in the individual prisons. Two examples are the development and set-up of a data base for the management of all Jordanian prisons and the harmonisation of the electronic prisoner file with international standards. In this context, the training of the penitentiary staff also played an important role. More than 1,000 employees in total were trained in over 40 workshops and seminars for various daily fields of work. It was the first time in the Jordanian penitentiary system that a gender-specific training component based on the so-called "Bangkok Rules" of the United Nations was introduced as an extension to the actual project targets. Another component of the project was the further development of the transitional management and the post care for former prisoners and the support for their reintegration, for instance by creating training and job opportunities. As a basic requirement for this, the project initiated a close cooperation between the national institutions and civil society as well as with private industry. For instance, a first national "Post Care Unit" could be established and trained within the project for the field of social post care, in which the Jordanian authorities and non-governmental organisations closely cooperate and which has already been operating in several prisons in Jordan. Much more than was originally envisaged in the project targets was achieved through the project also in this area.

The project was run by the Team Leader Torben Adams working for the IRZ in Amman, who was deployed for this project from the prison authorities of the Federal State of Bremen. All in all, there were more than 20 long-term and short-term experts from Austria, Estonia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Jordan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Romania and Sweden who provided their expert knowledge for the project.

The success of the project, which sets an example for the further development of the penitentiary system in the region, was pointed out in the introductory speeches of the final ceremony. This success was brought about by the open-minded and trustful cooperation between the Public Security Directorate and the experts, and last but not least by the outstanding commitment of the Team Leader Mr. Adams.

The IRZ Director Dirk Mirow furthermore met with various Jordanian project partners for bilateral talks during his visit to Jordan. Amongst others, the details of the cooperation in 2014 were specified with the President of the Jordanian Constitutional Court Mr. Taher Hikmat. The first event in spring will be a working visit by a delegation of the Jordanian Constitutional Court to the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, amongst others.