2,000 inmates participated in sport activities. Image Credit: Ali Al Shouk/Gulf News

Dubai: Participating in sports’ activities helped inmates to socialise and pumped them with positive energy, according to inmates inside Dubai Central Jail, said a senior official.

Dubai Police said that 1,934 inmates participated in sports activities inside Al Aweer central jail last year. Football tournament, billiards and fitness sports like running and bodybuilding were arranged for the inmates.

An inmate who was convicted in a murder case about 17 years ago said that prison changed his life.

“I managed to finish my study in prison. I started taking part in sports activities like running and it helped me avoid many hassles. It pumped my body with positive energy. As we always have plenty of time to think about our situation and our future, we need sports activities to keep us busy and to make the best use of our time,” the suspects identified as M.S. said.

Lieutenant-Colonel Marwan Abdul Kareem Julfar, deputy director of the Correctional and Punitive Establishments Department at Dubai Police said they were keen to use sports as a key factor in rehabilitating the inmates and to keep them fit.

“Sports can keep them away from fights in addition to keep them fit and healthy. Every year we organise many sporting activities and tournaments to motivate the inmates,” Lt Col Julfar said.

He praised the effort by Dubai Sports Council in providing special sessions for inmates to become fitness trainees.

“Many male and female inmates participated in the sessions and other sports activities last year. Dubai Police aim to rehabilitate them and give them a second chance and find new ways for them to return to the society as good people,” he added.

He said that police even organise crafting sessions for inmates to learn skills and making products which helped inmates to find a job after serving their jail term.

“It is part of a Dubai Police strategy to educate the inmates and develop their skills and ideas, to integrate them into society when they complete their prison sentences.”

However, for inmate identified as A.S., the sport is everything in his life inside the jail.

“Every day I take part in sports with other inmates. The officials provided us sports equipment and clothes. Organising tournaments and awarding medals, trophies and cash is a matter of joy for us and a good way to spend our time,” he said.