The Tunisian delegation at the Plötzensee prison
The Tunisian delegation at the Plötzensee prison

During a study visit to Berlin from 16 to 19 July 2019, organised by the IRZ in partnership with the Berlin Senate Administration, directors of Tunisian prisons discussed the “Involvement of businesses in prisons and the adjustment of available training schemes to the needs of the German employment market” with German experts.

During a visit to the Plötzensee prison, the delegation was welcomed by the Head of Training and Qualifications, who informed the Tunisian guests about the training and qualification opportunities in the Berlin prison system. He stressed the legal requirement of prisoners to work, as set out in the law governing the Berlin prison system.

During a subsequent tour, the delegation visited the various training facilities within the prison. The Tunisian guests were particularly interested in the partnership with the private company Booh Outfit, which has its T-shirts printed at the Plötzensee prison. The partnership between a private company and a prison and the legal basis for this were the main topics of conversation at expert talks between the delegation and employees of the Plötzensee prison.

On the second day, there were expert talks followed by a tour of the Tegel prison, with the Head of the Department of Training and Qualifications, Lars Hoffmann. An employee at the German Federal Employment Agency also took part in the discussions. He presented the cooperation between the Agency and the prison. Prisoners in Berlin’s prisons have the possibility of receiving support from the German Federal Employment Agency for training supplied by external parties (e.g. The Helmut Ziegler Foundation). There is also the possibility for prisoners serving a term of less than 3 years to complete training modules, which can then count towards training schemes after release.

The three-day study visit gave the Tunisian prison directors a deeper insight into the German prison system and into the various partnerships with different parties involved in training and qualifications for prisoners. By taking a committed part in discussions and asking their German partners questions, the Tunisian guests made it clear that they want to use the information gained to inspire them to continue to develop the Tunisian prison system.

The study visit was organised as part of the project running from 2017 to 2019 to support legal reform in Tunisia, which is being supported by the German Foreign Office.