Morocco: Moroccan prison reforms: reinforcing strategic management capacities for key staff at headquarters and prison levels and improving respect for prisoners' rights

Start date: 
Tuesday, March 1, 2005
End date: 
Friday, March 31, 2006

The project in Morocco was initiated in March 2005 and responded to concerns from the Central Prison Administration that modernisation of the law relating to prisons had placed additional burdens of responsibility on prison governors. Prison governors had assumed their responsibilities without appropriate training except through mentoring from a more experienced colleague. In addition many prison governors were finding it difficult to delegate effectively.

In response to these needs the prison authorities wished to have assistance in developing a management training package for governors and senior prison staff and to capture this learning in a training package which they could then use with all governors. The training was expected to be of one year’s duration.

The challenge for ICPS was to design a programme which could be developed and delivered in partnership with Moroccan trainers, following a set curriculum, but including the vital elements to the ICPS approach to prison management improvement. Much of this approach however, existed as tacit rather than explicit knowledge and was based on experience gained in other countries. The learning programme would need to be delivered within a year and without undue additional pressure on prison governors and senior managers.

Moroccan trainers would need to receive training for trainers, but this also offered the possibility of a genuine partnership approach, from the beginning, to the production and delivery of course materials and the course itself. The development of a comprehensive training package would also be of benefit to work commissioned elsewhere by ICPS.

The programme was designed in April 2005 and envisaged a total of 22 days guided learning - 18 days classroom and 4 days prison based giving a total of 250 hours total study time. A pilot learning programme began in December 2005 with teams of three senior managers, including the governor, drawn from five prisons with a geographical spread and different profiles. The teaching team comprises tutor practitioners from the Moroccan prison service and two ICPS consultants.

The course itself includes the Human Rights Approach to Prison Management, Gap Analysis, and Strategic Planning. It also includes a Module entitled Leading Teams through Change, which will integrate security and control issues with management of procedures and crisis leadership. A fourth module will focus on Managing Performance and will include a study visit to the UK the learning from which will be presented back to colleagues as part of the module. A fifth and final module is delivered through a coaching approach through visits to the participating prisons by members of the training team.  

Having established the project in the second half of 2005, the core of the work was delivered in four activities during 2006, three in Morocco and one in England. In addition ICPS hosted a visit to England for the Director and Deputy Director of the Prison Administration in Morocco in partnership with the Prison Service of England & Wales.

In partnership with the Project Training Team based in the Training School in Ifrane, Morocco, ICPS developed the course and course material for a Senior Management Course for prison managers in Morocco. The framework of the course is a Strategic Planning approach for the delivery of Human Rights in prisons. The course modules were piloted with senior managers from five prisons with differing functions, from headquarters and with tutors from the Training School. The modules involved workshops, coaching and the UK visit to illustrate performance management.

The prison managers then developed their own strategic plans for the improvement of their prisons, and, implemented some changes within their own resources. Examples of these changes ranged from relatively small physical improvements to large scale building, improved procedures and security management, improved staff/prisoner relationships, partnerships with community based organisations for prisoner programmes, and better health care.

During the year, the Management Team agreed to create a Prison Improvement Office at headquarters. This office is transferring the knowledge gained through the development of the course into the policy making machinery.

Regional Conference, Marrakech, Morocco

In May 2006, a Regional Conference for the Arab World was organised through a partnership between the Ministry of Justice, the Moroccan Prison Administration, the British Embassy in Rabat, and ICPS. Representatives from the prison services in 14 countries, including Afghanistan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Lebanon attended with several NGO’s and guests from three Western European countries.

It was the first forum of its kind and enabled exchanges, both formally and informally, between the prison services in the Region. The programme concentrated on the different approaches of countries in their attempts to improve their prisons to meet international human rights standards.