Photo: Courtesy of Haitham Moussawi

Talk: Organized by MENA Prison Forum & UMAM D&R
A Conversation with Kylee DiGregorio & Jad Yateem
Via Zoom
MAY 4, 2023

The MENA Prison Forum will speak once again with MPF senior researcher Kylee DiGregorio about her latest MPF Observer Security and Justice: Divergent Aims of the Rule of Law Agenda. This text is the second in a four-part series titled Prison Reform in the Middle East and North Africa: An International Development Project and the Means to Many Ends, which examines prison reform across the MENA region within the framework of the international development / cooperation project model. 

As a continuation of our last MPF Talk on prison reform, the discussion will loosely follow the structure of Part II, which explores the conceptual foundations and practical features of ‘rule of law’ (RoL)-based prison reform programming. The text’s underlying premise asserts that ‘rule of law’ as an international development framework intrinsically conceptualizes prison reform as an exercise in institution-building. Programs designed and implemented through a rule of law approach therefore center around matters of prison administration and management, identifying inefficiencies within the prison service as the principal impetus for, and target of, reform. Acknowledging then that such reforms are predominantly intended to make prison staff, as well as all internal administrative processes and procedures more ‘competent’ and ‘efficient,’ the Observer poses the question: In what and to what end

The MPF Talk will set out to explain how the answer bifurcates RoL-based programs into two groups, which converge around (1) security-focused and (2) justice-focused prison reforms, respectively. Drawing upon case studies from Tunisia, Libya, Jordan, Morocco, and Lebanon, the conversation will illustrate how these two agendas differ, highlighting the primary themes, objectives, and methodologies that are characteristic of each. However, by grounding this collection of initiatives in space and time, the discussion will also reflect on the role of contextual—and even geopolitical—factors, and will likewise aim to demonstrate how and to what extent a country’s political climate and security situation act to influence the nature of the projects that are undertaken and the focus of the prison reforms that are introduced.

Time: Thursday, May 4, 2023 at 8 pm Beirut time, 7 pm CET. 

Language: The discussion will be in English with Arabic translation. 

The subsequent Q&A session will be both in Arabic and English.

Deadline for registration: Wednesday, May 3, 2023, 11:59 pm Beirut time.

Kylee DiGregorio is a senior researcher at the MENA Prison Forum, where she writes on topics of arrest, detention, torture, enforced disappearance, and extrajudicial killing in countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa. She holds an MA in International Human Rights from the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies and an MA in International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). Prior to joining the MPF, she worked as a consultant, conducting research and producing reports for several non-governmental organizations, including Human Rights Watch and Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict.

Jad Yateem is the MENA Prison Forum Spokesperson, and the Coordinator of MPF in Lebanon. He is a Lebanese journalist with more than 20 years of work experience in research, content creation, investigative journalism, media training, and strategic communication. He has largely worked in Lebanon and Libya, and with a special focus on Syria since the uprising in 2011.