During the seminar
During the seminar

On 20 and 21 June 2019, the fourth seminar on "Decent treatment of inmates in the Moroccan penal system" was held in Rabatt. The seminar was organised by the IRZ in cooperation with the "Directorate General for Correctional Service and Resocialisation (DGAPR)". The seminar is part of the project "Cooperation with the Kingdom of Morocco in the Penal System", which is being carried out by the IRZ over the period 2017 to 2020 with funding from the Federal Foreign Office.

The IRZ has received the support of an expert from Tegel Prison in Berlin in the implementation of the seminar: Silvia Cardini, Head of Psychological Service, and Michael Weise, Head of the General Penal Service.

The first day of the seminar included a meeting of the steering committee for all the working groups set up within the framework of the project. After a brief presentation of the project by the IRZ, the participants discussed the content and design of the manual that is to be produced. It is to be drawn up on the basis of Moroccan penal system law as well as applicable international agreements.

During the second day of the seminar, possible ways of preventing violence between prisoners and against prison guard officers were discussed. Two core tasks of the "Directorate General for Correctional Service and Resocialisation (DGAPR)" in Morocco are to ensure security in prisons and adequately prepare prisoners for resocialisation. To achieve these two objectives, the DGAPR applies a security strategy based on two pillars:

  • Material security: technical and infrastructural measures and steps to improve working conditions for staff.
  • Dynamic security: building good relations with inmates and preventing violence by ensuring that inmates are treated with dignity.

In Germany, personal and structural factors are considered to be causes of violence among prisoners. It is for this reason that, in addition to humane accommodation of inmates to facilitate prevention of violence, open prisons are increasingly being used. On top of this, additional preventive measures, e.g. to combat violence and drug use, are being applied. 

In Germany, as in Morocco, an effort is being made to improve working conditions of prison officers by such means as:

  • ensuring a sufficient number of well-trained personnel, 
  • effective support and
  • a range of continuous training courses.

Both countries cooperate closely with external actors from civil society or the public sector in implementing measures to prevent violence along with internal measures taken by prisons themselves, particularly in the areas of initial and continuous training and the treatment of inmates.

With the aim of preventing religiously motivated violence, Morocco has adopted a strategy of helping inmates find peace with themselves, while achieving reconciliation with society and religious texts. In Germany, religious scholars offer group discussions and are in regular contact with inmates at their request. These treatment methods are also part and parcel of efforts to prevent violence. 

There is considerable interest on both sides in a continued exchange of experience and views on these issues.