Participants and speakers at the seminar
Participants and speakers at the seminar

On 11 and 12 October 2018, the IRZ, in cooperation with the General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR), organised its second seminar on “Professional, vocational and artistic training for prisoners” in Morocco’s capital city, Rabat. The event was held as part of a project supported by the German Federal Foreign Office on “Cooperation with the Kingdom of Morocco on Prison Management”. The IRZ is coordinating this project between 2017 and 2019. The objective of this component is to improve social and psychological care for prisoners, particularly with regard to the acute conflict resolution skills of those working in law enforcement.

Two employees of the Berlin prison system provided the IRZ with expert support in the organisation of the seminar:

  • Katja Adolph, Head of Employment and Qualification at the Berlin young offenders’ institution, and
  • Mirjam Drechsel, Head of Employment and Qualification at the women’s penal institution in Berlin.

As part of the welcoming ceremony, the DGAPR praised the successful cooperation with the IRZ and remarked on a clear improvement in the situation for prisoners. The key objective of the DGAPR’s work is to reduce the relapse rate and ensure the successful reintegration of prisoners.

Several lectures by German and Moroccan speakers addressed the similarities and differences between the training of prisoners in both countries. During the subsequent discussions, a more in-depth and lively exchange took place between the participants.

Amongst the factors identified in Moroccan prisoners as having a high level of influence on the success rate of reintegration, the professional training of prisoners has become a priority. Using established criteria, prisoners are approved for professional training by a selection committee. The training measures available to prisoners in Moroccan prisons include school education, literacy, professional and vocational training and higher education. The DGAPR works with a wide variety of external parties to provide this training.

Whilst prisoners in Morocco can train to become trainers for other prisoners, this is not possible in Germany, since penal institutions are subject to the statutory provisions of the law governing the prison system on providing training for prisoners. The responsibility for the monitoring and organisation of prison management is taken over by social services in Germany. Social workers play a central role here. Following on from the initial case history interview with a social worker, a process of establishing skills is carried out by independent organisations and the results are also included in the enforcement plan. The objective is to provide employment or training corresponding to the needs or skills of the prisoners. German prisons cooperate with a large number of external parties for the professional training of prisoners, including the German Federal Employment Agency, the Chambers of Industry and Commerce, the Chamber of Crafts, various trade guilds and a large number of independent organisations.