Project Title: A New Life, A New Hope: Our Work In Moroccan Prisons
Years: September 2016 – June 2019
Donor: Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL)
Target Regions: Morocco, Mali, Niger
Prisons in the Sahel and Maghreb regions are often overcrowded, under-equipped, and plagued by conflict, which increases the risk of radicalization among prisoners. Inmates also lack the skills and resources that will facilitate their reintegration into society; upon their release, unemployment and lack of social support often drive them towards recidivism. There is an acute need for professional reintegration programs that can decrease recidivism and lessen the appeal of recruitment into violent extremist groups among detainees in the region. That is the gap that our program A New Life, a New Hope is filling.
The project is funded by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), which aims to give inmates the adequate tools to facilitate their path from prison to home, from deviant behavior to social integration. It is based on the idea that “imprisonment, in itself, is incapable of addressing the offenders’ social integration issues” (from the 2012 handbook of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime). This initiative, which is taking place in Morocco, Mali, and Niger, includes a detailed assessment of the prison security and classification systems, and the reintegration programs in these three countries. Based on the assessment findings, the country teams will design and implement custom reintegration programs adapted to each context.
“A New Life, a New Hope” also facilitates the exchange of best practices among Moroccans, Malians, and Nigerians, through initiatives such as mentorships and conferences. By bringing together these three countries, the program aims to foster a culture of sharing and build an integrated, regional approach.
For this innovative project, Search – Morocco is leveraging its experience working in Moroccan prisons. Search has been implementing projects in prisons since 2010, in partnership with the General Delegation of Penitentiary Administration and Reintegration, the Foundation Mohammed VI for the Reintegration of Detainees, the Rabita Mohammadia of Moroccan scholars, and the National Council for Human Rights. These projects include the training of prison directors, prison administration staff, and detainees in techniques and mechanisms for managing conflict, as well as establishing a national platform on the state of human rights in prisons, good governance, and prison reform in Morocco.