Sharjah: Starting this Ramadan, prisoners in Sharjah will operate a radio station dubbed Studio Al Amal (Studio of Hope) in cooperation with the Sharjah Media Corporation.
The first-of-its-kind radio studio in the region has been set up at the Sharjah Punitive and Rehabilitation Centre.
Inmates' radio studio
Colonel Ahmad Shuhail, director-general of Sharjah Punitive and Rehabilitation Establishments, told Gulf News that Studio Al Amal will present a vibrant mix of local programmes.
These will include interviews, morning talk shows and other interesting segments — all broadcast by inmates from inside the Sharjah jail.
The project was conceptualised in 2014 when a small studio was set up in the old jail to record Quran recitals by inmates.
Inmates from Sharjah as well as other emirates, who managed to memorise the Quran, were encouraged to record their recitation of the Quran at the studio.
The project has been expanded in the new facility to engage inmates in wider educational programmes.
Col Shuhail said: “Our aim is to engage inmates in educational activities and discussions, helping them develop strategies to deal with the issues that led them to prison."
The facility’s programmes, the official added, will also to be presented and produced by inmates working alongside professional radio producers of Sharjah Media Corporation.
Around 25 inmates are being trained on using the tools and equipment at the studio.
They have been granted certificates by the Sharjah Media Corporation.
Col. Shuhail said there is also an internal radio facility within the prison to broadcast educational and information programmes on various topics for inmates.
“The facility helps prisoners develop a positive peer influence and refrain from getting involved in criminal activities in future,” he said.
The programmes, he added, have been designed to support inmates while serving their time by making appropriate use of the rehabilitation services available to them.
"This will prepare them to live crime-free lives after they are released," Col. Shuhail said.
being trained to use the tools and equipment at Studio Al Amal. Photo: Aghaddir Ali
Learning from mistakes
The internal radio facility also includes narrations of the nature of their crimes so that prisoners can learn from their mistakes.
Col. Shuhail added that a prison news bulletin has also been introduced in the facility.
It includes information about different issues selected by the facility’s administration, which encourage a positive attitude among inmates, in addition to keeping them up to date with activities taking place in the facility.