AJMAN // Former prisoners from Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah are exhibiting goods such as boats, furniture and traditional Arabic clothing that they made using the skills they acquired behind bars.
The exhibition which opened yesterday at the Ajman Umm Momineen centre is the first of its kind in the emirate, and Brig Ali Abdullah Alwan, the Ajman police director general, said: "It's a good experience for our prisoners to learn that being in jail is not the end of life."
He added: "If they learnt some skills prisoners would be less prone to crimes when released."
Col Rashed Jassim al Majed, the Ajman prison's director general, said that all the prisoners in the workshops were being paid for every day they worked on the exhibits.
The facility will use proceeds from the exhibition to buy materials and develop rehabilitation projects, he said.
"We have relied on prisoners with some skills to teach others but we want to bring in experts to teach, and all that costs money," Col al Majed said.
"Learning a skill in prison is free and prisoners can benefit from it throughout their lives."
A former female prisoner, who identified herself as Umm Mohammed, said she served one year in prison and was now making clothing for Arab women as a result of the programme.
"My family could bring me the new abaya styles and because I already had the skills I just need little time to study it and make it," she said.
"Among the styles I made was the butterfly when it was still hot, but now it has faded."
Uthuman Dhahran, 47, and Seif Johal, 40, two Emiratis who served jail terms for drug possession, displayed their models of traditional dhows they made during their time in prison.