Manama: Saudi Arabia’s High Judiciary Council has told the local courts to implement the concept of alternatives to prison to help reduce crowding in the country’s jails.

In a note to all courts, the council said the concept of alternatives to prison was among the recommendations reached by the interior ministry’s centre for research on combating crimes after it conducted a study on the crimes related to “disobedience to parents” and several workshops on the issue.

Alternative options to spending time in jail include working in homes for the elderly, engaging in ritual washing of corpses, digging graves and providing services at rehabilitation centres, local daily Al Watan reported on Thursday.

The council said that the courts should play an active role in the alternatives to prison to help ease the number of inmates in the country’s jails.

Social network users have welcomed the idea and called for its implementation to help young juveniles and avoid locking them up with other inmates who might have a negative influence on them.

Writing under the moniker of Zainak, one user said that the choice of funeral areas and graveyards was appropriate.

“It will help their hearts become more lenient as they see death up close,” Zainak wrote. “This might make them repent and become nice to their parents and treat them well.”

Earlier this year, reports in Saudi media said that the Ministry of Justice was working on a new alternative sentence law that would be ready before the end of December.

The law would be the legal framework needed by judges to issue their verdicts that would keep offenders out of jail and do community work instead in a bid to reduce the number of prisoners by 50 per cent.

According to the reports, the alternative sentences currently issued by some courts have been handed down based on the judge’s discretion.

The alternatives under the new law would be confined to punishments for minor cases that include attempts to flirt with women, public quarrels and certain cases of domestic violence.