The General Delegation to the Penitentiary Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR) has launched a new initiative in 21 detention centers to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among prisoners and prison staff, while allowing men and women inmates to receive training and learn new skills of manufacturing masks and protective gear. Facilitating the economic and social reintegration in society of prisoners upon their release, the initiative serves also to increase their sense of citizenship, solidarity and cooperation.
UNDP Morocco and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation have collaborated to contribute to the purchase of equipment and raw materials to enable the initiative to produce about 20,000 masks daily. "With its international expertise in supporting prison reforms, UNDP is happy to support the DGAPR to implement its strategy to maintain the health and well-being of prisoners, while preparing them for social and economic reintegration,” said Mr. Yassir Benabdallaoui, Assistant Resident Representative - Program at UNDP Morocco. “This initiative to manufacture protective gear demonstrates the commitment of the prison community to national mobilization against the spread of Covid-19."
While family visits have been suspended due to confinement measures, making masks provided a good way for inmates to manage detention time and to learn new skills. Also, prisoners who participate in the mask making initiative receive payment for their work, which is deposited in personal accounts that they were allowed to open in the detention facility under special procedures. “Here, in this sewing workshop, we are no longer just prisoners. We are responsible citizens who help themselves and their country to face the pandemic,” declared one of the inmates in the Ain Sbaa prison for women. “Now society can count on us. we have a role to play despite being in prison.”.
All stages of mask production are subject to rigorous quality control measures. The DGAPR obtained a certificate of conformity with national standards regarding the raw materials used and the production conditions. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Morocco has embarked on a national effort to manufacture masks for the general public, under the immediate control of the Ministry of Industry, reaching a daily production of 7 million masks.