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On 26 September 2018, the closing conference for the “Renforcement des institutions de l'administration pénitentiaire” twinning project took place in a festive atmosphere in Tunis. The project with a budget of EUR 1.85 million has been brought to a successful conclusion after 36 months.
The celebratory ceremony was opened with speeches by the Tunisian Minister of Justice, Ghazi Jeribi, and by the EU Ambassador in Tunis, Patrice Bergamini. These were followed by addresses from other high-ranking participants and guests, including:
Sophie Vanhaeverbeke, EU delegation leader in Tunis,
Olivier Poivre d'Arvor, French Ambassador,
Jalloul Chelbi, Head of the PARJ (Programme d'Appui à la Réforme de la Justice),
Stéphane Bredin, Head of the French prisons department,
Elyes Zalleg, Head of the Twinning Project in Tunis and of the General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR),
Nicole Cochet, Managing Director of the French lead partner, JCI,
Philippe Pottier, Head of the Twinning Project and
From 10 to 15 September 2018, the IRZ welcomed a delegation of high-ranking representatives of the Tunisian prison system on a visit to Berlin. The delegation was led by the Director General of the Tunisian prison authorities, Elyes Zalleg, and Ali Guiga representing the Ministry of Justice.
The four-day study visit on the “classification of prisoners” and “transition management and follow-up care in prisons” began with a visit to the Senate in Berlin, followed by expert discussions with the Head of Department III – Law Enforcement, Susanne Gerlach. This was followed by talks with Social Services, during which the structure and areas of responsibility of probationary services were presented. Over the next three days, the Tunisian guests visited detention facilities and took part in expert discussions with their directors and other members of staff. This included psychologists, social workers, enforcement officers and security personnel, who explained their areas of responsibility.
The main topics discussed during the talks were the classification of prisoners and social reintegration and follow-up care. The Tunisian delegation also learned about further training opportunities for prisoners and about the involvement of external parties in the social reintegration process.
All four days of the working visit featured lively discussions between the Tunisian guests and their hosts. Since the Tunisian prison system is currently undergoing a period of upheaval, many questions came up with regard to potential for reform and the implementation of new structures and processes. The German experts provided some important ideas and momentum for the continuing reforms.
The study visit was organised as part of the project running from 2017 to 2019 to support judicial reform in Tunisia, which is being supported by the German Foreign Office.
During the period from 26 August to 1 September 2018, a delegation of representatives from the prison authority and the prison service in Tunisia visited the Ministry of Justice and various penal institutions in the North-Rhine Westphalia region of Germany.
Development of the institutional capacities of the General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration
Support for the National University of Prison Administration and Reintegration in the development of a new training programme
Development of a national concept for the gradual introduction of a probation system in Tunisia.
At the start of their visit, the Tunisian guests were welcomed to the Ministry of Justice for the North Rhine-Westphalia region in Düsseldorf by assistant state secretary Jakob Klaas. Here, the participants were given an introduction to the prison system in North Rhine-Westphalia. They were informed about the structure and organisation of the prison system and were given an overview of the following topics:
the roles and tasks of probation officers,
admitting and dealing with terrorist prisoners and
cooperation with the media and publicity work.
Over the following days, the delegation visited various penal institutions, including the JVA Geldern, the young offenders’ institution in Heinsberg, the Willich II women's prison and the Moers-Kapellen open prison. The following topics were discussed at these institutions:
the process and requirements of sentence planning for prisoners,
prison staff (figures, career paths, human resources),
opportunities for vocational training and occupational therapy for prisoners,
the differences between open and closed prisons and
specific features of the various institutions.
The Tunisian guests were also able to see for themselves the various training facilities, sports grounds, libraries and prison cells.
The topics discussed during the study visit were met with a great deal of interest by the participants. They took an active part in discussions and made the most of the opportunity to ask plenty of questions. In Tunisia, the reintegration of prisoners is a subject that is increasingly taking centre stage. There is therefore a continued need for exchanging expertise in this field.