Prison overpopulation is an ongoing concern in Morocco.
Rabat – Morocco’s General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR) hosted a forum in Rabat today, January 30, on confronting challenges in prison management.
The event, organized in partnership with the Mohammed VI Foundation for the rehabilitation of prisoners, aims to present the Moroccan experience in managing prison affairs in terms of security and reintegration.
At the continental level, the forum aims to unify the management of security challenges and promote the modernization of prison governance in Africa, under the banner of South-South cooperation.
The two-day forum will highlight the evolution of prison management in Morocco and offer expertise and know-how to the 36 African countries in attendance.
However, Morocco’s own prison management and reintegration programs leave much to be desired.
A DGAPR study released in September 2019 shows that 42% of Moroccan prisoners have committed the same crime twice.
Despite the high number of reoffending inmates, the study shows that only 6% of inmates received government assistance for reintegration. Around 94% of inmates said that they did not benefit from any government assistance before release.
Additonally, a report on Morocco’s incarceration figures for 2018 found that 12 of Morocco’s 15 prisons exceeded their maximum inmate capacity.
Prison overpopulation is an ongoing concern in Morocco, placing pressure on staff and inmates.
A September 2019 report on institutional standards by the head of Morocco’s Court of Auditors Driss Jettou shed light on the conditions of prisoners in Morocco and the overarching infrastructure of the prison system.
Jettou found that the participation of regional directorates in the management of prison institutions was “weak.”
According to the report, “the DGAPR suffers from weak supervision within prison institutions.” Jettou emphasized the significant difference between the number of staff compared to the prison population.
Within the central administration of DGAPR there are also serious gaps in manpower, including vacancies for directors, the Court of Auditors found.
The court report added that field visits to some prison institutions show “deficiencies in the infrastructure,” highlighting a lack of safe areas around the perimeter of most institutions.
Jettou addressed the lack of electronic monitoring equipment to combat the smuggling of illegal products into the prison.
The report also shows that prisoners remain at a high risk of suffocation in the event of a fire within the prison facilities.
Field visits to the prison uncovered the persistence of flammable materials used in the cells, including the beds. The report added that the average space allocated to each prisoner is about 1.8 square meters despite an international standard of 3 square meters.
However, DGAPR has been attempting to remedy some of these issues by rebuilding and updating the prisons and collaborating with international organizations to develop Morocco’s prison management and reintegration systems.