An organic farm is hardly what one would expect to see inside the Dubai Central Jail. And one that was conceived and maintained by jail inmates seems inconceivable. But that was exactly what this Gulf News reporter came across inside the jail in Al Awir area. The sight of inmates working enthusiastically amid the lush greenery seemed an anachronism in those surroundings.
But not when you learn that this is part of a Dubai Police strategy to educate the inmates and develop their skills and ideas, to integrate them in society when they complete their prison sentences.
The inmate behind the idea said he couldn’t believe it had been developed into a thriving project inside the jail.
“This is a new revolution in self-farming technology. We used a fish tank linked to another tank to collect the fish waste which is then fed to the plants. The plants in turn clean up the water which is the recycled back to the fish. This technology is the solution for climate change and rising food prices. It allows us to farm affordable organic products,” the inmate said.
The project depends on the ‘perfect circle of life’ to produce organic fertiliser. The farm does not need to change the water as it is purified automatically with filters.
On hearing his innovative idea, Dubai Police provided the inmate with proper tools and supplies to start the organic farm a year back. They even helped train other inmates in organic farming techniques.
Brigadier Ali Al Shamali, Director of Correctional and Punitive Establishments Department, Dubai Police, said they were keen to give a chance for inmates to develop their ideas and suggestion on how to spend their time inside the jail.
“We provide anything they need to implement their projects and support any new idea. Any inmate can send a request for what he requires and what he is willing to do and we consider it seriously and implement it based on our resources,” Brigadier Al Shamali said.
Many inmates participate in activities such as craft workshops and sports inside the central jail.
Meanwhile, the inmate behind the organic farm thanked Dubai Police for their support in building the farm inside the jail.
“There is always a moment in life when you feel it is all light. I want to thank Dubai Police for helping me see that light,” he said.