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Ramadan programmes at the Sharjah Punitive and Rehabilitation Centre

From cooking to charity, a number of empowering programmes and classes are held for inmates

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Ramadan in Sharjah punitive and rehabilitation establishment
Gulf News

Group iftar with families

The centre organises a group iftar for inmates and their families with the help of Sharjah Police.

The family iftar includes 20-25 inmates and the number of families invited depends on the desire of the inmates. The families arrive before the iftar time and leave before the Taraweeh prayer.

The initiative supports the General Directorate of Punitive and Rehabilitation Establishments’ charitable and humanitarian initiatives.

Cooking classes

Emirati chef Mohammad Al Mana’i is teaching inmates cooking skills. A total of 60-70 inmates would have learnt cooking by the time they are released and will be assisted with immediate employment. Inmates who finish the course volunteer to cook Ramadan food for other inmates.

Shaikh Sultan’s book

The centre organised a reading initiative for inmates that involves reading a book by His Highness Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to hold competitions among inmates. The competition starts with the first day of Ramadan and continues through the month, with a focus on a different aspect each day.

The competition also covers various scientific, social and religious aspects.

The library at the centre houses more than 2,000 books, of which 775 books are from Shaikh Sultan. Prisoners are encouraged to read books as part of their rehabilitation programme.

Sport competitions

Football competitions between inmates and their sons [inmates’ sons aged 10-15], between inmates and the police and between inmates from different cells are organised during Ramadan.

“This year, we have scheduled a number of competitions — soccer, basketball, tennis, cricket and even chess,” said Colonel Ahmad Suhail.

Quran memorisation

“If an inmate memorises three parts of the Quran, he or she will have their sentence reduced by six months.

“[Memorising] five parts of the holy book will reduce the sentence by one year; 10 parts by five years; 15 parts by 10 years; 20 parts by 15 years; and 30 parts — the whole Quran — will reduce the sentence by 20 years.” “Of course, that is dealt with on a case-by-case basis and depends on the crime,” said Colonel Suhail. “We want to help and encourage them to decrease their sentence, however, we make sure that by doing so, it is not violating anybody’s else’s rights.”

‘Journey of Change’

This is a programme for inmates who have served their time and are ready to return to society. They head for Umrah, the cost for which is borne by the establishment. Seventeen inmates are on the list this year for release during Ramadan. The aim is to reintroduce them into society as model citizens.

Ramadan majlis

For first time, a Ramadan Majlis was organised by the Sharjah Punitive and Rehabilitation Establishment twice a week. Each majlis is being attended by 15-30 inmates.

The Majlis hosts an elderly expert who speaks about the UAE society, its values and traditions and narrates stories which offer lessons for the inmates to avoid crime in all its forms. They are also educated on how to become valuable members of society post-release. The initiative is first of its kind in the country and in the Middle East.

Ramadan Meer and Kiswa Al Eid

Ramadan Meer is one of the leading charity projects of the centre for the benefit of the families of inmates. An employee of the centre visits the inmates’ families and gives them either foodstuffs [packed in a box] or gives them coupons they can use at the Sharjah Cooperative Society.

About three weeks of Ramadan are allocated to distribute Meer while the fourth week is allocated to distribute Kiswa Al Eid [Eid clothes]. This year, Meer will be given to 45 families and Eid clothes to 40 children.