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Jordan-Penal System

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The penal system, a responsibility of the Ministry of Interior, was administered by the Prisons Department of the Public Security Directorate. The system was composed of roughly twenty-five prisons and jails. All except Amman Central Prison--the system's major institution--were under the management of regional police chiefs and were sometimes referred to as police jails. In addition to the Amman facility, area prisons were located at Irbid and at Al Jafr, east of Maan in the south-central desert region. The smaller jails were located at or near regional and local police offices. Generally, convicted offenders with more than one year to serve were transferred to the central prison in Amman, those with terms of three months to one year were sent to regional prisons, and those sentenced to three months or less were kept in local jails. Some exceptions were made to this pattern in the case of Palestinian activists or other security prisoners who had been detained for long periods of time in the Al Jafr facility, largely because of its remoteness.

Penal institutions were used to detain persons awaiting trial as well as prisoners serving sentences. Convicted offenders were usually housed separately from those yet to be tried. Major prisons had separate sections for women prisoners, as did a few of the police jails in the larger communities. A juvenile detention center in Amman housed young offenders who had been convicted of criminal offenses. When juveniles reached the age of nineteen, if they had further time to serve, they were transferred to one of the larger prisons for the remainder of their sentences.

All institutions operated in accordance with the provisions of the Prison Law of 1953, as amended. This law provided for decent treatment of prisoners and included comprehensive regulations governing the facilities, care, and administration of the prison system. Jordan was one of the first Arab countries to recognize the theory of rehabilitation, rather than retribution, as the basis for punishment of lawbreakers. This concept emphasized that crime was caused by human weakness resulting from poor social conditions rather than by willfulness and immorality. As such, the approach was in many ways alien to the traditional Muslim custom of personal revenge by the family of the victim, which demanded that the culprit pay for his crime. Although Jordan's penal system was designed to provide punishments suited to bring about the rehabilitation of the wrongdoers, in practice these efforts were hampered by the lack of facilities and professionally trained staff. Some effort was made to provide literacy and limited industrial training classes to prisoners in Amman Central Prison, but few modern techniques of rehabilitation were found in other penal institutions.

According to the annual human rights reports of the United States Department of State, prison conditions were harsh but not intentionally degrading. There appeared to be no discrimination according to religion or social class in treatment of prisoners. Crowded conditions in some prisons were relieved by a royal amnesty in 1985 that resulted in the release of more than 1,000 inmates. In 1986, a new central prison, Juwaidah, was opened in Amman. It replaced the obsolete and cramped Al Mahatta prison, which was scheduled to be closed.

In its 1988 report, Amnesty International cited a number of cases of apparent mistreatment in prisons, notably at Al Mahatta and at the Az Zarqa military prison. The report also questioned the authorities' motives in forcing four students and a writer convicted in the martial law court of membership in illegal leftist organizations to serve their sentences under the harsh conditions found at Al Jafr.

                            *           *          *

The general survey of Jordan by Arthur R. Day, East Bank/West Bank: Jordan and the Prospects for Peace, includes a chapter appraising the Jordanian military establishment, as well as a number of observations relative to Jordan's internal security. The analysis by Anthony H. Cordesman, Jordanian Arms and the Middle East Balance, published in 1983, together with a supplement published in 1985, provides assessments of the military and geostrategic situation of Jordan. The analyses also present arguments for equipping Jordanian forces with advanced weapons to enable the country to resist military pressure from neighboring powers. The problems Jordan encountered with the United States in meeting its desire for these new weapons, especially in the area of air defense, are also reviewed in detail. The Hashemite Arab Army, 1908-1979, by S.A. El-Edroos, a Pakistani brigadier who served as adviser to the Jordan Arab Army, is a thorough study of military operations and battles through the October 1973 War. John Bagot Glubb's autobiography, A Soldier with the Arabs, provides detail on the evolution of the Arab Legion and the fighting in 1948. Troubles on the East Bank: Challenges to the Domestic Stability of Jordan by Robert B. Satloff reviews existing and potential internal security problems, with emphasis on the Muslim Brotherhood.

The discussion of military strengths, formations, and equipment in this chapter is based principally on estimates compiled in The Military Balance, 1988-89, by the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)

Data as of December 1989

BackgroundFollowing World War I and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the UK received a mandate to govern much of the Middle East. Britain separated out a semi-autonomous region of Transjordan from Palestine in the early 1920s, and the area gained its independence in 1946; it adopted the name of Jordan in 1950. The country's long-time ruler was King HUSSEIN (1953-99). A pragmatic leader, he successfully navigated competing pressures from the major powers (US, USSR, and UK), various Arab states, Israel, and a large internal Palestinian population. Jordan lost the West Bank to Israel in the 1967 war and barely managed to defeat Palestinian rebels who threatened to overthrow the monarchy in 1970. King HUSSEIN in 1988 permanently relinquished Jordanian claims to the West Bank. In 1989, he reinstituted parliamentary elections and initiated a gradual political liberalization; political parties were legalized in 1992. In 1994, he signed a peace treaty with Israel. King ABDALLAH II, the son of King HUSSEIN, assumed the throne following his father's death in February 1999. Since then, he has consolidated his power and undertaken an aggressive economic reform program. Jordan acceded to the World Trade Organization in 2000, and began to participate in the European Free Trade Association in 2001. In 2003, Jordan staunchly supported the Coalition ouster of Saddam in Iraq and following the outbreak of insurgent violence in Iraq, absorbed thousands of displaced Iraqis. Municipal elections were held in July 2007 under a system in which 20% of seats in all municipal councils were reserved by quota for women. Parliamentary elections were held in November 2007 and saw independent pro-government candidates win the vast majority of seats. In November 2007, King ABDALLAH instructed his new prime minister to focus on socioeconomic reform, developing a healthcare and housing network for civilians and military personnel, and improving the educational system.
LocationMiddle East, northwest of Saudi Arabia
Area(sq km)total: 89,342 sq km
land: 88,802 sq km
water: 540 sq km
Geographic coordinates31 00 N, 36 00 E
Land boundaries(km)total: 1,635 km
border countries: Iraq 181 km, Israel 238 km, Saudi Arabia 744 km, Syria 375 km, West Bank 97 km

Coastline(km)26 km

Climatemostly arid desert; rainy season in west (November to April)

Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Dead Sea -408 m
highest point: Jabal Ram 1,734 m
Natural resourcesphosphates, potash, shale oil
Land use(%)arable land: 3.32%
permanent crops: 1.18%
other: 95.5% (2005)

Irrigated land(sq km)750 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources(cu km)0.9 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)total: 1.01 cu km/yr (21%/4%/75%)
per capita: 177 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazardsdroughts; periodic earthquakes
Environment - current issueslimited natural fresh water resources; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - notestrategic location at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba and as the Arab country that shares the longest border with Israel and the occupied West Bank
Population6,342,948 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure(%)0-14 years: 31.3% (male 1,014,183/female 973,538)
15-64 years: 64.5% (male 2,183,638/female 1,904,420)
65 years and over: 4.2% (male 128,759/female 138,410) (2009 est.)
Median age(years)total: 24.3 years
male: 25 years
female: 23.6 years (2009 est.)
Population growth rate(%)2.264% (2009 est.)
Birth rate(births/1,000 population)19.55 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)2.75 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)5.83 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization(%)urban population: 78% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 3.1% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio(male(s)/female)at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.15 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.93 male(s)/female
total population: 1.1 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 14.97 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 17.91 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 11.86 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 78.87 years
male: 76.34 years
female: 81.56 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate(children born/woman)2.39 children born/woman (2009 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Jordanian(s)
adjective: Jordanian
Ethnic groups(%)Arab 98%, Circassian 1%, Armenian 1%

Religions(%)Sunni Muslim 92%, Christian 6% (majority Greek Orthodox, but some Greek and Roman Catholics, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and Protestant denominations), other 2% (several small Shia Muslim and Druze populations) (2001 est.)
Languages(%)Arabic (official), English widely understood among upper and middle classes

Country nameconventional long form: Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
conventional short form: Jordan
local long form: Al Mamlakah al Urduniyah al Hashimiyah
local short form: Al Urdun
former: Transjordan
Government typeconstitutional monarchy
Capitalname: Amman
geographic coordinates: 31 57 N, 35 56 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Thursday in March; ends last Friday in September
Administrative divisions12 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Ajlun, Al 'Aqabah, Al Balqa', Al Karak, Al Mafraq, 'Amman, At Tafilah, Az Zarqa', Irbid, Jarash, Ma'an, Madaba
Constitution1 January 1952; amended many times

Legal systembased on Islamic law and French codes; judicial review of legislative acts in a specially provided High Tribunal; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: King ABDALLAH II (since 7 February 1999); Crown Prince HUSSEIN (born 28 June 1994), eldest son of King ABDALLAH II
head of government: Prime Minister Samir al-RAFAI (since 9 December 2009)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister in consultation with the monarch
elections: the monarch is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch

Legislative branchbicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-'Umma consists of the Senate, also called the House of Notables or Majlis al-Ayan (55 seats; members appointed by the monarch to serve four-year terms) and the Chamber of Deputies, also called the House of Representatives or Majlis al-Nuwaab (110 seats; members elected using a single, non-transferable vote system in multi-member districts to serve four-year terms); note - six seats are reserved for women, nine seats are reserved for Christian candidates, nine seats are reserved for Bedouin candidates, and three seats are reserved for Jordanians of Chechen or Circassian descent
elections: Chamber of Deputies - last held 20 November 2007 (next scheduled to be held in 2011); note - a royal decree was issued to dissolve the Chamber of Deputies, effective 24 November 2009; no date announced for early elections
election results: Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - IAF 6, independents and other 104; note - seven women serve in the Assembly, six of whom filled women's quota seats and one was directly elected

Judicial branchCourt of Cassation (Supreme Court)

Political pressure groups and leadersAnti-Normalization Committee [Ali Abu SUKKAR, president vice chairman]; Jordan Bar Association [Saleh al-ARMUTI, chairman]; Jordanian Press Association [Sayf al-SHARIF, president]; Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood [Dr. Hamam SAID, controller general]
Flag descriptionthree equal horizontal bands of black (top), representing the Abbassid Caliphate, white, representing the Ummayyad Caliphate, and green, representing the Fatimid Caliphate; a red isosceles triangle on the hoist side, representing the Great Arab Revolt of 1916, and bearing a small white seven-pointed star symbolizing the seven verses of the opening Sura (Al-Fatiha) of the Holy Koran; the seven points on the star represent faith in One God, humanity, national spirit, humility, social justice, virtue, and aspirations; design is based on the Arab Revolt flag of World War I

Economy - overviewJordan's economy is among the smallest in the Middle East, with insufficient supplies of water, oil, and other natural resources, underlying the government's heavy reliance on foreign assistance. Other economic challenges for the government include chronic high rates of poverty, unemployment, inflation, and a large budget deficit. Since assuming the throne in 1999, King Abdullah has implemented significant economic reforms, such as opening the trade regime, privatizing state-owned companies, and eliminating most fuel subsidies, which in the past few years have spurred economic growth by attracting foreign investment and creating some jobs. The global economic slowdown, however, has depressed Jordan's GDP growth and foreign assistance to the government in 2009 plummeted, hampering the government's efforts to reign in the large budget deficit. Export-oriented sectors such as manufacturing, mining, and the transport of re-exports have been hit the hardest. Amman is considering sweeping tax cuts to attract foreign investment and stimulate domestic growth, and the government has guaranteed bank deposits through 2010. Jordan's financial sector has been relatively isolated from the international financial crisis because of its limited exposure to overseas capital markets. Jordan is currently exploring nuclear power generation to forestall energy shortfalls.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$31.68 billion (2008 est.)
$30 billion (2007 est.)
$28.14 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$21.23 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate(%)5.6% (2008 est.)
6.6% (2007 est.)
8% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$5,200 (2008 est.)
$5,000 (2007 est.)
$5,000 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 3.6%
industry: 29.9%
services: 66.5% (2008 est.)
Labor force1.615 million (2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation(%)agriculture: 2.7%
industry: 20%
services: 77.4% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate(%)12.6% (2008 est.)
13.5% (2007 est.)
note: official rate; unofficial rate is approximately 30%
Population below poverty line(%)14.2% (2002)
Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 30.7% (2006)
Distribution of family income - Gini index39.7 (2007)
36.4 (1997)
Investment (gross fixed)(% of GDP)32.3% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $5.67 billion
expenditures: $7.66 billion (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)14.9% (2008 est.)
5.4% (2007 est.)

Stock of money$NA (31 December 2008)
$6.765 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money$17.98 billion (31 December 2008)
$15.38 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit$25.05 billion (31 December 2008)
$19.53 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares$35.85 billion (31 December 2008)
$41.22 billion (31 December 2007)
$29.73 billion (31 December 2006)
Economic aid - recipientODA, $752 million (2005 est.)

Public debt(% of GDP)62.2% of GDP (2008 est.)
85.8% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - productscitrus, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives; sheep, poultry, stone fruits, strawberries, dairy
Industriesclothing, fertilizers, potash, phosphate mining, pharmaceuticals, petroleum refining, cement, inorganic chemicals, light manufacturing, tourism

Industrial production growth rate(%)5.7% (2008 est.)

Current account balance-$2.39 billion (2008 est.)
-$2.767 billion (2007 est.)
Exports$7.782 billion (2008 est.)
$5.7 billion (2007 est.)

Exports - commodities(%)clothing, fertilizers, potash, phosphates, vegetables, pharmaceuticals
Exports - partners(%)India 16.2%, Iraq 16.1%, US 13.2%, Saudi Arabia 6.9%, UAE 4.6% (2008)
Imports$14.99 billion (2008 est.)
$12.02 billion (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities(%)crude oil, machinery, transport equipment, iron, cereals
Imports - partners(%)Saudi Arabia 21.2%, China 10.4%, Germany 6%, US 4.6%, Egypt 4.5%, Ukraine 4.3% (2008)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$8.918 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$7.929 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external$6.794 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$8.133 billion (31 December 2007 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$16.5 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$14.55 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Exchange ratesJordanian dinars (JOD) per US dollar - 0.709 (2008 est.), 0.709 (2007), 0.709 (2006), 0.709 (2005), 0.709 (2004)

Currency (code)Jordanian dinar (JOD)

Telephones - main lines in use519,000 (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular5.314 million (2008)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: service has improved recently with increased use of digital switching equipment; microwave radio relay transmission and coaxial and fiber-optic cable are employed on trunk lines; growing mobile-cellular usage in both urban and rural areas is reducing use of fixed-line services; Internet penetration remains modest and slow-growing
domestic: 1995 telecommunications law opened all non-fixed-line services to private competition; in 2005, monopoly over fixed-line services terminated and the entire telecommunications sector was opened to competition; mobile-cellular usage has increased and teledensity reached 85 per 100 persons in 2008
international: country code - 962; landing point for the Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) submarine cable network that provides links to Asia, Middle East, Europe; satellite earth stations - 33 (3 Intelsat, 1 Arabsat, and 29 land and maritime Inmarsat terminals); fiber-optic cable to Saudi Arabia and microwave radio relay link with Egypt and Syria; participant in Medarabtel (2008)
Internet country code.jo
Internet users1.5 million (2008)
Airports17 (2009)
Pipelines(km)gas 439 km; oil 49 km (2008)
Roadways(km)total: 8,002 km
paved: 8,002 km (2007)

Ports and terminalsAl 'Aqabah
Military branchesJordanian Armed Forces (JAF): Royal Jordanian Land Force (RJLF), Royal Jordanian Navy, Royal Jordanian Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Malakiya al-Urduniya, RJAF), Special Operations Command (Socom); Public Security Directorate (normally falls under Ministry of Interior, but comes under JAF in wartime or crisis) (2008)
Military service age and obligation(years of age)17 years of age for voluntary military service; male conscription at age 18 - suspended in 1999 - resurrected in July 2007 in order to provide youth training necessary for job market needs; all males under age 37 are required to register; women not subject to conscription, but can volunteer to serve in non-combat military positions in the Royal Jordanian Arab Army Women's Corps (2009)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 1,812,551
females age 16-49: 1,559,155 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 1,593,919
females age 16-49: 1,382,097 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 69,830
female: 67,292 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures(% of GDP)8.6% of GDP (2006)
Disputes - internationalapproximately two million Iraqis have fled the conflict in Iraq, with the majority taking refuge in Syria and Jordan; 2004 Agreement settles border dispute with Syria pending demarcation

Refugees and internally displaced personsrefugees (country of origin): 1,835,704 (Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA)); 500,000 (Iraq)
IDPs: 160,000 (1967 Arab-Israeli War) (2007)
Trafficking in personscurrent situation: Jordan is a destination and transit country for women and men from South and Southeast Asia trafficked for the purpose of forced labor; Jordan is also a destination for women from Eastern Europe and Morocco for prostitution; women from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and the Philippines migrate willingly to work as domestic servants, but some are subjected to conditions of forced labor, including unlawful withholding of passports, restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, threats, and physical or sexual abuse
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Jordan is on the Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking in persons in 2007, particularly in the area of law enforcement against trafficking for forced labor; the government made minimal efforts to investigate or prosecute numerous allegations related to exploitation of foreign domestic workers; Jordan failed for a second year to criminally prosecute and punish those who committed acts of forced labor; Jordan also continues to lack victim protection services; Jordan has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol (2008)
Electricity - production(kWh)12.21 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 99.4%
hydro: 0.6%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption(kWh)10.4 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports(kWh)176 million kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - imports(kWh)200 million kWh (2007 est.)
Oil - production(bbl/day)0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - consumption(bbl/day)108,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports(bbl/day)0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - imports(bbl/day)108,200 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - proved reserves(bbl)1 million bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
Natural gas - production(cu m)250 million cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption(cu m)2.97 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports(cu m)0 cu m (2008)
Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)6.031 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS600 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deathsfewer than 500 (2003 est.)
Literacy(%)definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 89.9%
male: 95.1%
female: 84.7% (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)(years)total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2006)
Education expenditures(% of GDP)4.9% of GDP (1999)

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