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Alternatives to Incarceration: Urgent Necessity - international symposium in Rabat

The National Human Rights Council (CNDH) organizes an international symposium on alternative sanctions, on Wednesday, October 30, 2013, 9:00 a.m., at Golden Tulip Farah Hotel, in Rabat. Under the heading “Alternatives to Incarceration: Urgent Necessity”, this symposium is held in partnership with two Moroccan NGOs: {Amis des Centres de réforme et protection de l’enfance} and {Adala}.

The symposium aims to open debate on alternatives in Morocco and to shed light on international experiences in the area, bearing in mind that the adoption of alternatives can help cope with overcrowding in Moroccan prisons. It’s held one year after the publication by CNDH of a report on prison conditions. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2008) “the overall use of imprisonment is rising throughout the world, while there is little evidence that its increasing use is improving public safety”. Criminal policies in several democratic countries increasingly adopt various alternatives to incarceration. Imprisonment remains of course the main trend in terms of punishment. Despite the difficulty in implementation, alternatives are increasingly adopted. They have at least two virtues: fighting against recidivism and reducing population in prisons. This symposium is organized in contribution to the comprehensive reform of the judiciary in Morocco. It’s also in line with the recommendations of the National Human Rights Council’s report on prison conditions in Morocco. CNDH recommended in its report that alternatives to imprisonment should be included in the Moroccan Criminal Code, including unpaid work for community, withdrawal of driving licenses, etc. It also recommended control, supervision and follow-up to the enforcement of these alternatives, whose effective implementation and impact on the behavior of the convicted should be assessed. Cases should be brought before a court, if need be, to decide over the inadequacy of an alternative. Experts, researchers, lawyers, academics and judges from Morocco, France, Belgium and the United States will take part in this symposium. They will discuss the philosophy behind this new form of punitive sanctions and the best practices applied in France, Belgium and the United States (community service, mediation, rehabilitation...). They will also discuss the prospects and possibilities of alternatives to incarceration in Morocco.