NAT SHJ JAIL FILE-1609822734874
The two Emirati prisoners underwent an extensive rehabilitation programme at the Sharjah Punitive Establishments Department Image Credit: Gulf News. For illustrative purposes only.

Sharjah: Two Emirati prisoners — Hassan and Ali — who had lost all hope after being sentenced to life in jail, are grateful to Sharjah Police for helping them get back on track with their lives as they were released early — thanks to Sharjah Police.

Most inmates take to drugs once they are released. Even if they don’t die of an overdose, they often end up getting arrested again for drug-related crimes. Without help, very few are actually able to put the broken pieces of their lives back together while battling a killer addiction. Sharjah jail has helped break that cycle with the help of rehabilitation programmes that are designed to help the inmates return to normal life.

Brigadier Ahmad Abdul Aziz Shuhail

The director of Sharjah Punitive Establishments Department told Gulf News that the prison has an “open-door policy” and prisoners are encouraged to discuss any problem that they may have with any of the staff members.

The two young Emirati inmates had entered the Sharjah Punitive and Rehabilitation Centre in 2013 after being sentenced to life terms. They were both 18 years old then.

Looking back at the path that eventually led them out of prison, the duo told Gulf News: “We are grateful to Sharjah Police for the respect and dignity that they have shown us at a time utmost misery in our lives. While in jail, we realised the true meaning of family ties. The staff at the prison were taking good care of us and doing for us no less than what our families would have done. For those without hope, they are the hope.”

Both the inmates have been pardoned and released from jail.

They further said: “We have spent around seven years ... We owe them [especially the jail employees] our life after Almighty Allah.”

Brigadier Ahmad said Major General Saif Al Ziri, Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police, visits the jail regularly and personally follows up on inmates’ issues. “We follow the guidelines to ensure that they all have their full rights in rehabilitation, medical care, nutrition and in communicating with their families and lawyers. The inmates have complete freedom, the support of the entire correctional facility and their rights are fully protected.”

When the two Emirati inmates entered the facility, they were yet to complete their studies. Hassan was in Grade 8, while Ali was in Grade 7. During the course of their stay at the correctional facility, they both obtained their diploma from IATA and the authorities have subsequently helped them find employment. Brig Shuhail said that the inmates had showed tremendous improvements in their behaviour and attitude during their stay at the establishment. Brig Shuhail further said that all the rehabilitation programmes carried out at the central jail are aimed to make the inmates realise the mistakes they committed.

Inmates obtain diplomas

Hassan and Ali were in the first batch of five inmates who obtained their diplomas in travel and tourism this year. This diploma was launched on October 29, 2017, and it was a joint initiative from Skyline University College (SUC) and Sharjah Police. The correctional facility has helped the inmates secure jobs and they are now happily employed. A total of 20 inmates have joined the second batch. Three of them have already been released and will continue with their academic pursuits outside the jail, the expenses for which will be borne by Sharjah Punitive and Rehabilitation Establishment.