Abu Dhabi: Doing community service as punishment, especially for convicts of misdemeanors, is becoming more and more prevalent in Saudi Arabia, where inmates are made to plant trees if they want to avoid spending their time behind bars, local media reported.
The initiative aims to improve the lives of those in jail. It uses nature to help them focus on reintegrating into society, as the kingdom seeks to humanise cities to encourage social engagement.
Acting Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs, Majid Al Hogail, has signed an agreement between the Al Ahsa Municipality and the General Directorate of Prisons to employ inmates in the initiative to improve the urban landscape, afforestation and activate public parks, starting with Jabal Al Shaaba Park, the highest park in the region, a vast area built on the top of the mountain.
Al Hogail was briefed on existing and other ongoing projects, including the development of the King Abdullah Park, built on a total area of 500,000 square meters and 14 other parks, with a total area of 65,000 square meters, as part of project aimed at humanising cities across Saudi Arabia.
Humanizing cities is one of the concepts that seek to improve a city’s living conditions for its citizens. It focuses more on creating spaces for people rather than vehicles, to encourage social participation and engagement.