DGAPR and the challenge of managing and reintegrating detainees for extremism

Since 2003, prisons in Morocco have experienced the influx of a new category unusual of detainees. These are the detainees for acts of extremism and terrorism who have represented a great challenge for these penitentiaries.

These establishments had to mobilize all their efforts, human and financial resources as well as their infrastructures so as to enable them to put an end to the danger that these prisoners represent for the penitentiary structures, or even the threat consisting in the diffusion of the extremist doctrine among the civil law prisoners.

In an institutional film, published on its Youtube account, the Directorate General for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR) reviewed the approach it adopted in the management of these extremist prisoners, focused on rehabilitation and reintegration.

Thus, the DGAPR explained that it had adopted an inclusive and multidimensional approach in the management of the incarceration of this category of detainees which intervenes within the framework of the national strategy adopted by Morocco to deal with violent extremism, starting from the historical depth and the central role played by the royal institution in preserving the religious identity of Moroccans.

This approach adopted by penitentiary establishments in the management of these prisoners has been summarized in three stages. The first stage spanned the period from 2003 to 2011. It was characterized by the adoption of a detention system based on the isolation of extremist detainees and their separation from other prisoners, in special quarters and in specific penitentiary establishments, and in large numbers, in order to avoid their negative impact on other detainees.

Except that this mass regrouping of extremist prisoners has made it difficult for prison establishments to identify what is happening within this “community” which has begun to represent a force of pressure by trying to impose a system of its own. and illegally.

This system adopted for the management of this category of detainees has had a negative impact on security, underlined the DGAPR. Several forms of protest have been recorded as well as urgent and dangerous facts, namely the general strike at the local prison Outita 2 in 2006, then the general escape from the central prison of Kenitra in 2008, passing through the general revolt recorded in the local prison Salé 1 in 2011.

These events, continues the same source, constituted an alarm bell to review the approach adopted in the management of these extremist detainees. It was therefore agreed, during the second stage from 2011 to 2015, to distribute this specific prison population over several prison establishments without isolating them from other civil law prisoners, the aim being to avoid reproducing the situations of regrouping of mass of this category which followed the aforementioned events, specifies the DGAPR.

And yet, this approach was fraught with danger. It favored operations of recruitment and indoctrination of prisoners under civil law by taking advantage of their psychological situation, in addition to the suspicious interaction with other categories of dangerous prisoners, linked to drug trafficking or even the training of an organized gang.

All of these facts and dangers were identified after the creation of a central mechanism in 2015, represented in the general affairs and control section, reporting directly to the general delegate for prison administration and reintegration.

This section has been entrusted with the task of monitoring and evaluating the behavior of this category of prisoners in particular. A mission, which made it possible to reclassify its extremist prisoners periodically according to the evolution of their behavior within the penitentiary establishments.

In this regard, Moulay Idriss Agoulmam, Director of Socio-Cultural Action and the Reintegration of Detainees within the DGAPR, specifies that rehabilitation in penitentiary establishments involves education, training, literacy and skill building and sporting, artistic and cultural activities, in addition to special programs and peer education.

In addition to the peer education program, the official said that the “Moussalaha” program was designed and implemented in collaboration with several partners and specialized experts, and is based on three main axes: reconciliation with self- same, reconciliation with the religious text and reconciliation with society.

He also noted that the success of the reintegration programs specific to detainees for acts of extremism and terrorism is manifested through the positive interaction of the beneficiary detainees, the understanding and assimilation of the religious text and the approach of correct societal values, as well as by the participation of certain prisoners who have served their sentences in the supervision of rehabilitation workshops for the benefit of other prisoners.

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