The fourth GCC Inmates Week concluded its activities. Held under the patronage of Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, the week’s activities program was officially inaugurated by Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of Ajman Department of Tourism and Development.

Held under the slogan “Together to Achieve Reform”, the event included a diverse number of activities and awareness programs across all of the participating Emirates, with delegations from various correctional and punitive establishments from GCC countries in attendance.

Brigadier Hamad Khamis Al Dhaheri, Deputy Head of the Punitive and Correctional Establishments Department at the Ministry of Interior, praised the efforts exerted to ensure the success of the fourth GCC Inmates Week. He also noted that the week’s program included a diverse set of activities at multiple locations in malls and public places across the UAE. The activities showcased the civilized humane treatment received by inmates of the Punitive and Correctional Establishments in the UAE, as well as the different activities and programs organized for their benefit. The program also shed the light on products that are manufactured by inmates while serving their sentence at the Establishments.

Brigadier Al Dhaheri also expressed his thanks to the delegated officers from GCC countries. He praised their participation in the program’s activities and their valuable contribution to the efforts to achieve the noble objectives of this unified GCC activity.

During the closing ceremony, which was held in Dubai, Brigadier Al Dhaheri awarded shields and certificates of appreciation to the GCC officers who took part in the program. He praised the participating delegations’ positive and active role in supporting the event by exchanging expertise and advice. It is worth mentioning that the delegations visited a number of sections at the Punitive and Correctional Establishments, and took part in the activities organized across all Emirates.

Brigadier Al Dhaheri also asserted that the Punitive and Correctional Establishments in the UAE play a valuable role in reforming and rehabilitating inmates by encouraging positive behavior and reducing negative and objectionable attitudes. The Establishments accommodates inmates throughout their sentence and endeavor to rehabilitate them by enrolling them in rehabilitative, educational and psychological programs to help them return to their communities as upright and active citizens.

Brigadier Al Dhaheri stressed the need for concerted efforts between of all community institutions in the correctional process to rehabilitate inmates and to integrate them into society through post-release care and make sure that those who have been reformed are not looked at by society in a negative way. He also noted that choosing the slogan "Together to Achieve Reform" for the GCC Inmates Week 2015 is in line with the efforts to dedicate attention to inmates and provide them with complete support and care through rehabilitation activities and post-care programs.

He added that the UAE has dedicated the utmost importance to the welfare of the Punitive and Correctional Establishments’ inmates and their families. He also pointed out to the valuable efforts exerted by governmental and private sectors’ entities in providing all the resources needed by the inmates’ families. “Caring for inmates is a shared responsibility between all community institutions, which grants success to the Punitive and Correctional Establishments efforts as they provide care, rehabilitation and support to inmates,” he noted.

Brigadier Al Dhaheri also noted that organizing the GCC Inmates Week confirms the ongoing determination of the UAE and its competent authorities to promote the various aspects of care for inmates and their families. This is realized by engaging community members and mobilizing their efforts and potential to address the situation of this category of individuals, who have suffered a set of different circumstances and factors that led them to commit crimes and violate the law.

Adding further, he said: “As much as the UAE is committed to promoting and enforcing the rule of law, achieving justice and restoring rights, we are also committed to providing care for inmates and to preserve their dignity as human beings in the first place, by protecting their rights and granting them equitable treatment under the laws,. This would allow inmates to realize their mistakes and change their attitudes to return to society as upright citizens who participate in community building.”

He also pointed out to the UAE’s commitment to provide care and assistance to the families of inmates and helping them lead normal lives and overcome the hardships and negative effects of the absence of their breadwinners. “This is achieved by encouraging community organizations and institutions to help inmates’ families, empower them to overcome hardships and maintain their cohesion,” he concluded.

In conjunction with the GCC Inmates Week, a number of activities were organized; notably a specialized seminar was held with participation of experts from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); and the Innovation Lab workshop, which was attended by the Deputy Director General of the Punitive and Correctional Establishments Department, along with heads of the Punitive and Correctional Establishments departments at the Ministry of Interior.

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