NAT Sharjah Punitive and Rehabilitation Establishment-1602060262139
Sharjah Punitive and Rehabilitation Establishment runs a special initiative to reform inmates Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: As many as 120 inmates [male and female) have benifitted from the Sharjah Punitive and Rehabilitation Establishment’s initiative to reward prisoners with good behaviour.

Brigadier Ahmad Shuhail, director-general of Sharjah Punitive and Rehabilitation Establishment, told Gulf News the initiative called ‘Chance’ gives inmates an opportunity to improve their behaviour so that the deportation order against them can be cancelled.

NAT Brigadier Ahmad Shuhail-1602060260212
Brigadier Ahmad Shuhail, director-general of Sharjah Punitive and Rehabilitation Establishment Image Credit: Gulf News

“It seems to be benefiting both men and women prisoners,” he said. For instance, some Comoros Island nationals who were sentenced to jail and were awaiting deportation have been offered work under the initiative and given the choice to stay in the UAE. They are employed in the facility with a monthly salary being paid to them, he added.

Drug cases

The initiative targets mostly inmates convicted in drug cases in addition to other crimes. Under the initiative, they will be under observation for one year to assess their behaviour. A total of five batches, including 120 men and women aged between 20-40 years, have been covered under the programme so far. “To date, 90 per cent of them have improved their behaviour,” Brigadier Shuhail said, adding all of them have started working at the facility.

In case a person fails, the deportation order will hold good, he said.

61 per cent decrease

In 2018, Sharjah witnessed a 61 per cent decrease in drug-related cases, with the police recording 476 cases, compared to 767 the year before and 712 cases in 2016. As many as 416 traffickers and addicts were arrested in connection with drug-related cases. “The department spares no effort in raising awareness about the dangers of narcotics, especially among youth, as they are the most vulnerable,” said Brigadier Shuhail.

The police have held a number of awareness campaigns on drug abuse with 7,832 people attending them. A new drug treatment and rehabilitation centre is being established in Sharjah on the directives of His Highness Shaikh Dr Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

Dr Shaikh Sultan has directed Major General Saif Ziri Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police, to intensify efforts to combat the menace of drugs and to establish a specialised centre to rehabilitate drug addicts. The centre will also aim to raise public awareness about the dangers that illicit drugs and illegal substances pose to society, especially vulnerable youth.