Participants and speakers at the seminar in Casablanca
Participants and speakers at the seminar in Casablanca

In partnership with the General Delegation for the Management of Prisons and Reintegration (DGAPR), the second seminar on “Governance – communication and planning strategies for prison authorities” was held on 24 and 25 April 2019 in Casablanca, Morocco. The seminar is part of the “Cooperation with the Kingdom of Morocco on Prison Management” project, which is being coordinated by the IRZ between 2017 and 2020. The project has the support of the German Federal Foreign Office.

Two experts from the Berlin prison system represented the IRZ at the seminar:

  • Ingo-Uwe Schümann, an adviser in Department III for IT control and digitalisation of the Berlin prison system, and
  • Martin Guder, social education worker and head of prison section at the Tegel prison.
At the start of the seminar, the DGAPR and the IRZ acknowledged the area of prison management as an integral part of their cooperation. Mustapha Rhaddousi, Regional Director of the DGAPR, emphasised the importance of the subject of governance as a basis for further cooperation in this project. Since 2016, the DGAPR has been following a strategy of more intense cooperation with it partners for implementing the reforms in the Moroccan prison system in the light of the new constitution of 2011, which stipulates a decentralised administration at regional and community level.

The regional divisions of the DGAPR base their planning strategy on the law governing the prison system, as well as on other relevant laws and decrees. To ensure the exchange of information with administrative authorities at regional level, the DGAPR, as the controlling body, has set up the department for cooperation with other authorities, the department for general interests and the department of security. To ensure better cooperation, the specifically created specialist departments at community level follow the same structure as the departments of the central administration in Rabat. This also helps to establish the requirements in terms of staff and further training, since the individual levels of administration work closely alongside one another. A central committee made up of representatives of the central and regional administrations works on concepts to improve the quality of further training available.

The German experts presented a model for inspecting prisons as part of the technical supervision provided by representatives of the regional administration of justice. In Germany, a strong culture of trust has developed between government ministries and penal institutions, with the latter benefiting from considerable room for manoeuvre when it comes to implementing laws. The German experts pointed out the significance of developing a culture of allowing for and dealing with mistakes. When it comes to staff planning, the law in Germany does not provide for any fixed care ratio for general law enforcement, contrary to welfare staff and qualified professionals, where the ratio is 1:30. The law allows for the appointment of external parties to carry out duties where necessary. Further training for staff is to a large extent organised on a decentralised basis by staff appointment commissions.

Experts from both countries then went on to present the distribution of responsibilities between parties involved in project management. The strategy for improving the humane treatment of prisoners was developed in Morocco mainly by community and regional administration, with the involvement of the head office. The fact that planning processes and project work flows are essentially similar in Germany and Morocco was made clear thanks to an example from Germany involving the modernisation of the kitchens in the Berlin prison system.

During the lively discussions at the seminar, the Moroccan participants pointed out the difficulties of making a clear distinction between planning and policies, which can lead to security concerns. Successful planning must be carried out objectively and this can be put at risk by the subjective priorities introduced by individual politicians. The German experts pointed out the parliamentary supervision of budget planning required in this respect in Germany, as well as the broad consensus that exists between all parties on security issues in prisons.

The status analysis carried out as part of the seminars will be transformed by the established working groups into recommendations for action and set out in a manual.