Participants and speakers at the seminar on “The humane treatment of prisoners in Moroccan prisoners” in Tangier
Participants and speakers at the seminar on “The humane treatment of prisoners in Moroccan prisoners” in Tangier

As part of the “Cooperation with the Kingdom of Morocco on Prison Management” project, the IRZ organised two seminars, which took place from 3 to 6 March 2020 in Marrakesh and from 10 to 11 March 2020 in Tangier. The project is being supported by the German Federal Foreign Office and has been managed by the IRZ in close cooperation with the Moroccan General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR) since 2017. The main objectives of the project are to protect human rights and guarantee the respect of these rights in the prison system. As a result of the partnership between DGAPR and IRZ, a handbook will be produced outlining the main subjects of prison management, including the rights and obligations of prisoners and the structure of reintegration measures. As far as the implementation of the planned reforms in the prison system is concerned, the main challenges faced by DGAPR in Morocco at present include the insufficient general financial situation and low salaries for all those working in the prison system.

The project is taking a regional approach to allow as many as possible DGAPR officials from the different regions of Morocco to take part in the events. The seminar on “Professional, vocational and artistic training for prisoners” was therefore held in Marrakesh, whilst the seminar on the “Humane treatment of prisoners in Moroccan prisons” took place in Tangier.

Seminar on “Professional, vocational and artistic training for prisoners” in Marrakesh

This seminar was attended by IRZ experts Katja Adolph, Head of Employment and Qualification at the Berlin young offenders’ institution, and Nicole Wolter, Head of Gardening at the same institution. The seminar provided support for DGAPR’s main reform steps in the implementation of their strategy for the reintegration of prisoners. This should lead to prisoners being provided with support for their reintegration through professional training and education. These training opportunities should enhance the capacities of prisoners to get a job after their release from prison. First of all, prisoners need to be classified and diagnosed individually to establish the actual requirements for training and education. Of course, the needs of the employment market also need to be taken into account, for example by using IT resources. Ideally, these should be the main focus of topical and future-oriented training and education measures in prisons. Prisons should work closely with external representatives of civil society and with the public sector when developing the training measures and to ensure that the qualifications achieved are recognised.

Seminar on the “Humane treatment of prisoners in Moroccan prisons” in Tangier

The experts speaking at this seminar were Dr. Angelika Burghardt-Kühne, a qualified psychologist working at the JVA Heidering prison, and Mike Jahncke, Head of Law Enforcement at the Plötzensee prison. As part of a series of events (Seminar in Tétouan on human rights standards in prisons), the seminar dealt with the psychotherapeutic care of prisoners. To improve this kind of care, special areas should be set up in the penal institutions. The objective here should be to provide vulnerable and high-risk prisoners with suitable professional support and to ensure that humane treatment for these special groups is maintained after they are transferred to normal prison areas. During the seminar, Dr. Angelika Burghardt-Kühne emphasised the importance of providing prison officers with regular further training, focussing in particular on those prisoners with mental illnesses. She said that it was extremely important to diagnose the behaviour of prisoners as early as possible. That’s also why the drill for emergency situations should be a central component of the training for law enforcement officers in general.