Programme gives former UAE inmates fresh shot at life

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Programme gives former UAE inmates fresh shot at life

Abu Dhabi - Al Radda Programme gives former prisoners a chance to invest their potentials to achieve social good.

By Jasmine Al Kuttab

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Published: Sun 3 Apr 2016, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 3 Apr 2016, 8:56 AM

A training programme for former prison inmates in the UAE is now helping them get a better future and a chance to lead a normal life after their release.
The Ministry of Interior announced that Al Radda Programme helps give former inmates a chance to lead a normal life and to invest their potentials to achieve social good.
The Punitive and Correctional Institutions Department at the Abu Dhabi Police had launched Al Radda Programme in 2012, in cooperation with the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development.
The entrepreneurship development and funding programme aims at granting Emirati inmates the opportunity to enter the business sector and reintegrate in community after serving their sentences, and to make good use of the investment expertise they acquired by managing their businesses while incarcerated.
Brigadier Mohammed Saif Matar Al Zaabi, Head of the Correctional and Punitive Establishments Department, said: "The Al Radda Programme reflects the Ministry of Interior's keenness to ensure a prosperous future for inmates of correctional facilities."
Brigadier Al Zaabi explained that the programme provides a number of services that include specialised training courses that focus on entrepreneurship, consultancy, feasibility studies' training and financial support for distinctive and viable projects. It also contributes to provide inmates with a source of income after having served their sentences.
"This would help reintegrate inmates into society after having served their sentences."
He pointed out that upon completion of the courses, trainees receive a graduation certificate, as well as funding if the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development approves the feasibility study following the inmate's release.
Inmates wishing to enroll in the courses can benefit from the programme if they satisfy a number of prerequisites, he said. The prerequisites include: Being an Emirati citizen, being a convict where the remaining period of imprisonment does not exceed one year and having a good conduct at the establishment, in addition to business management skills.
Brigadier Al Zaabi noted that the Khalifa Fund has held eight training courses, which saw the participation of 116 inmates.He added that a number of inmates had benefitted from financing and support following their release from the prison.
He also indicated that mutual cooperation with the Khalifa Fund has provided new prospects for cooperation with development institutions and social associations and enhanced efficient communication with different parties for the benefit of rehabilitation activity.
Addicts can avoid jail if they go to rehabilitation programme
There have been numerous instances were prison inmates had the chance to avoid jail term, if they followed their court-ordered treatment programmes, said Naser Al Riyami, Psychologist and Hypnotherapist at SKMC.
Al Riyami highlighted that he often receives patients who have been ordered by the court for a two-month treatment programme to tackle bad or illegal habits that has taken over their lives.
He said that prison inmates could avoid jail term if they simply follow the courses and try to lead a better and healthier lifestyle.
"Repeat offenders will face up to four years jail time for addiction," he added.
"We receive patients at the Chemical Dependency Unit, suffering from addiction, such as alcohol and drugs. They are ordered for a two months treatment, which is their chance to start anew."
Al Riyami pointed out that 8-13 patients are court-ordered for the programme every two months.
"The patients often have police cases and criminal records and therefore it becomes extremely difficult for them to find jobs and reintegrate back into society," he noted.
"In the two months' programme we teach them the right social and psychological skills, which will eventually help them cope with their dependency and kick off any damaging and illegal habits."
He noted that teaching patients the right social skills is thus vital, as it helps rekindle broken relationships with families and with the society as large.

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