Overview

Incarceration rate (per 100,000 inhabitants)

240

i

The authorities publish official statistics on prison population

yearly

The numerical data are published in the yearly DGAPR report.

The prison service has a computerised record keeping system

yes

The “SID” computerised record keeping system is currently being implemented in all of the establishments.

Total number of prisoners

88,941

i
01/2021
/ prison service, Rapport 2021, p. 34.

Variation in the number of prisoners

increase

The number of people in prison increases by 7.03% between 2017 (83,102)1 and 2021 (88,941).

Number of people serving non-custodial sentences

-

  • The draft law No. 22-43 relating to alternative sentencing includes three alternative sentences: community service, electronic monitoring and the restriction of certain rights. The law also envisages monitoring measures, hospitalisation and rehabilitation. The alternative sentences are not applicable in cases of terrorism, money laundering, drug or narcotic trafficking or organ trafficking. They are also not applicable in cases of the sexual exploitation of minors or persons with disabilities, corruption, bribery, misappropriation of funds or in the event of breaches of trust or the embezzlement of public funds.

    i
    08/06/2023
    / Le matin.ma
  • The Ministry of Justice is proposing a bill to enable judges to replace jail sentences with alternative, non-incarceration penalties. Fines and community service could be handed down instead for offences currently meriting up to two years’ imprisonment. This initiative aims to reduce incarceration rates and tackle the issue of prison overcrowding.

    i
    25/01/2023
    / Médias 24

Variation in the incarceration rate

increase

The incarceration rate increases by 3.45% between 2020 (232) and 2021 (240).

i

Number of admissions

108,460

i
2021
/ prison service, Report 2021, p. 135, tableau 5.

Number of releases

104,596

i
2021
/ prison service, Report 2021, p. 137, tableau 8.

Average length of imprisonment (in months)

9.84

i
2020
/ prison service, Report 2021, p. 135, tableau 4.

Variation in the average length of imprisonment

increase

The average length of detention increases by 1.24% between 2020 (9.72 months)1 and 2021 (9.84).


  1. prison administration, 2020 Report, p. 135, table 4. 

Prison density

160 %

i

The prison occupancy rate has reached 156.17%, according to the 2021 report by the Moroccan Prisons Observatory (Observatoire marocain des prisons, OMP). The Marrakech-Safi region has the highest rate in the country, 154.31%. Overcrowding is not an issue in only four of the country’s twelve regions: Lâayoune-Sakia El Hamra (77.78%), Tanger-Tétouan-Al Hoceima (80.33%), Oriental (96.88%) and Drâa-Tafilalet (99.63%).

Variation in the prison density

increase

The occupation rate increases by 16,87 % between 2018 (136,9)1 and 2019 (160).

The distribution of prisoners according to the duration of their sentence is, as at 31 December, 2018, the following 1:

  • less than six months: 8.98 % (4 583)

  • six months to one year: 19.58 % (9 993)

  • one to two years: 21.93 % (11 192)

  • two to five years: 24.70 % (12 604)

  • five to ten years: 12.41 % (6 333)

  • ten to thirty years: 11.17 % (5 697)

  • life sentence: 1.08 % (551)

  • death sentence: 0.14 % (72)


  1. DGAPR, “2018 Report”, 2019, p. 147 (in Arabic). 

Overcrowding is an issue for specific types of prison facilities

yes

Local Prisons are particularly overpopulated, particularly those in the Rabat-Salé-Kenitra and Casablanca-Settat regions.

  • The Aïn Sebaâ local prison in Casablanca houses 10,877 prisoners, despite having a capacity of only 3,800 beds.

    i
    09/08/2023
    / La Quotidienne

A supervisory body has issued a decision on prison overcrowding

yes

The National Human Rights Council (CNDH) and the Regional Committees for Prison Inspection commented on prison overpopulation. On 31 October 2012, the CNDH presented a report entitled, “The Prison Crisis” during a press conference in Rabat.
In 2016, the United States State Department talked about Morocco’s prison overpopulation in their report following the human rights practices by country. They highlight that the prison conditions for people in pre-trial imprisonment are particularly difficult with regard to overpopulation.

Name of authority in charge of the prison service

the Prime Minister

Budget of the prison service

237,658

dollars - 2 286 840 MAD

i
2020
/ Moroccan Observatory of Prisons

The prison service outsources the management of the facilities to private companies, either partially or fully

yes

Only catering is appointed to private contractors.

The General Delegation for Prison Administration and Rehabilitation (DGAPR), created in 2008 and linked to the Prime Minister, is responsible for prison establishments 1.

The DGAPR is responsible for the implementation of sentences and private release measures. It is responsible for the development and implementation of governmental policies regarding security and rehabilitation. It prepares, along with other instances, case file requests and proposals for pardons and conditional parole. 2
See Sentence adjustments policies section.

The GDPRA is composed of the central administration and the ten regional directorates:

  • Casablanca-Settat region

  • Rabat-Salé-Kenitra region

  • Fès-Meknès region

  • Tanger-Tétouan-Al Hoceima region

  • Marrakesh-Safi region

  • Eastern Region

  • Béni Mellal- Khenifra region

  • Laâyoune-Sakia El Hamra region

  • Region of Draa-Tafilalet

  • Souss-Massa region


  1. Article 2 of regulation no. 1.08.49 of 29 April 2008 

  2. General Delegation for Prison Administration and Rehabilitation “2018 Report”, 2019, p. 29 (in Arabic). 

All the prison regimes applicable to Morocco are closed. They vary according to the prisoner classification.
The classification criteria are particularly the risk of repeat offence, the offence committed, the prisoner’s civil status, and their age. They are subjected to an individual evaluation grid. The modes of access to activities, work, visits, and walks depend on this classification.
The prison regimes are the following:

  • A: high security regime, solitary confinement, restricted movement within the establishment

  • B: ordinary closed regime

  • C: partially closed regime, best opportunities to access activities and work

The different categories of correctional facilities are:

  • Local prisons, intended for people with short-term sentences, defendants and persons under duress 1. There are 65 in total. They are required to guarantee, “depending on their capacities”, professional training to prisoners.
  • Central prisons, reserved for people with long-term sentences. There is a total of two of them: Moul El Bergui and Kenitra. These are high security establishments.
  • Agricultural prisons, normally intended for prisoners at the end of their sentence. There are six in total. These establishments are dedicated to the professional training of prisoners in the agricultural field and to prepare them for their release.
  • Educational reform centres, reserved for minors and young adults (up until 20 years old). There are three in total.

Penitentiary law provides that sentenced people are divided into prisons according to their gender, family residence, age, criminal circumstances, background, physical and mental state of health, mental aptitudes, personality, and detention regime. (Prison Law, article 29.
The incarcerated population is concentrated in the local and central prisons.


  1. Persons under duress are objected to an exceptional measure of custodial sentence to recover civil debts. 

Total number of prison facilities

75

i
31/12/2021
/ prison service, Report 2021, p. 32.
  • In March 2023, the General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR) opened the new El Jadida prison. The establishment of this new facility is part of a strategy to modernise the prison system. The aim is to ease the strain on overcrowded facilities. This prison features a mother-child unit, a 24-bed hospital ward, and an educational centre with a capacity to accommodate 250 prisoners.

    i
    16/03/2023
    / Le 360

Total official capacity of the prison facilities

61,170

i
  • As of 7 August 2023, the number of prisoners reached 100,004, exceeding the capacity of 64,000 by around 40,000.

    i
    09/08/2023
    / La Quotidienne

The size of the facilities varies in a significant manner. Ain Sebaa 1’s local prison (4,500 places) is the largest. Its current population, as of 31 December 2018, is 7,137 prisoners. The smallest prison is the Reform and Rehabilitation Centre in Benslimane (249 places). Its current population is 220 young prisoners, as of the same date.

The facilities [^map] and the majority of the incarcerated population [^pop] is concentrated in the north-west of the country (Casablanca-Settat, Rabat-Salé-Kenitra, and Fès-Meknès). [^map]: See Penitentiary map“, 2019, p. 30 (in Arabic).
[^pop]: General Delegation for Prison Administration and Rehabilitation, “2018 Activities Report”, 2019, p. 144 (in Arabic).

Prison facilities are accessible by public transport

the majority of facilities

Correctional facilities are normally situated between 10 to 15 kilometres from city centres.

Number of prison guards (FTE)

6,180

Guards and educators are grouped in the same category called “guard-educators”. They have the same tasks.

i
31/12/2018
/ DGAPR

Guard to prisoner ratio

1 : 11

i
2018
/ DGAPR

The ratio varies depending on the prisons and the time of the day. In 2018, the prison administration indicated that they wanted to achieve a ratio of one guard for every eight prisoners 1.


  1. DGAPR, “2018 Report”, 2019, p. 68 (in Arabic). 

Number of socio-educational workers (FTE)

444

Socio-educative workers are: social assistants (73) and civil servants for social activities (371).

i
13/12/2018
/ DGAPR

Percentage of socio-educational workers in relation to the entire prison staff

4.62 %

i
31/12/2018
/ DGAPR

The prison staff is represented by (a) union(s)

no

Prison guards must follow initial training, followed by a competitive entrance exam. They must have their high school qualifications.
The training includes, in chronological order:

  • two months of training at the National Centre of Executive Training (CNFC)
  • one month, in-prison internship
  • three months of training at the CNFC.

Training is the same for all prison staff. Position choices are made after the training. Only prison doctors receive specialised initial training.

Staff do not benefit from any benefits other than their salary. This is a contentious issue for the majority of staff. The Director of DGAPR highlights the lack of resources from their institution and staff exhaustion.

  • The Moroccan Prison Observatory is calling for the hiring of additional prison staff. To that end, it is calling for improved working conditions and compensation.

    i
    21/12/2023
    / Madar21

Prison staff are organised into two bodies:

  • surveillance and security: guards, prison wardens and directors
  • rehabilitation: teachers, social assistants, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, psychologists, and surgical dentists