Participants and speakers at the seminar in Rabat
Participants and speakers at the seminar in Rabat

In close cooperation with the Moroccan General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR), the IRZ organised a seminar on “Social and psychological support for prisoners” on 11 and 12 July 2018 in Rabat, Morocco. The seminar was held as part of the “Cooperation with the Kingdom of Morocco on Prison Management” project, which is being supported by the German Foreign Office and coordinated by the IRZ between 2017 and 2019.

The project allows better networking for prisoners and improved connections with their social environment and society, as well as the increased involvement of Moroccan civil society in providing social and psychological support for prisoners.

Two experts from the Berlin prison system supported the IRZ in carrying out the seminar: 

  • Vera Schiepe, Group Leader at the Heidering penal institution, and
  • Catharina Troike-Yudha, a psychologist at the women’s penal institution in Berlin.

The Deputy Director of the General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration in Morocco, Hassan Hamina, welcomed the participants to the event. He emphasised that reintegration and the maintenance of safety were the main priorities in prisons.

The Moroccan experts pointed out that social, psychological and cognitive care is an important factor in the reintegration of prisoners. They use international standards for diagnosing and classifying prisoners. When preparing prisoners for release, psychologists therefore work in close cooperation with social workers in Moroccan prisons. As well as informing prisoners about their rights and obligations, they are also responsible for the reintegration of prisoners. Working alongside non-governmental organisations, they develop measures to raise awareness, as well as organising cultural and religious events.

The German experts, Vera Schiepe and Catharina Troike-Yudha, stressed in their lectures that the protection of the general public and the reintegration of prisoners are objectives of the prison system. In open prisons, prisoners should be as involved as possible in society. Social workers are also superior to enforcement officers when it comes to the care of prisoners and are therefore a key point of contact. With the involvement of external staff, psychotherapeutic treatment is provided in closed and open prisons in Germany and is frequently continued after the prisoner’s release.

During the discussions, the Moroccan participants pointed out the important role played by diagnostic procedures in the identification of prisoners at risk. Another subject that frequently came up in discussion was the care of employees in prisons.

The seminar was met with great interest. A second seminar on the same topic is due to take place in November 2018.