DUBAI // Female prisoners looking after infants in jail are to be housed in their own section of Dubai Central Prison, as part of a project to improve living conditions for toddlers behind bars.
Under certain circumstances, such as when inmates give birth, jailed mothers are allowed to keep their infants with them for up to two years. Dubai Police are also considering lengthening this time.
"The welfare of children in prison is a priority and this new project aims to create the most suitable atmosphere for their well-being," said Major General Khamis al Mazeina, the deputy head of Dubai Police, during a visit to the female-only prison.
The project will also create a nursery.
"It is necessary to take into consideration the privacy of the children and their welfare at their nursery, but without altering the security at the prison," added Maj Gen al Mazeina.
There are 476 female prisoners in the jail, according to Dubai Police statistics. However, the statistics did not disclose how many of these were living with infants.
The nursery will be built on a 200square-metre plot and will benefit from an abundance of natural light. It will include a playing area, a teaching room and a small medical centre.
"The design takes into account the safety and security of the prison but at the same time, by creating a section for the imprisoned mothers together with their children, we are hoping to achieve a sense of normality for the child," said Colonel Abdullah Dumlok, who is in charge of the project.
It was unclear when the project would be completed.
During his visit, Maj Gen al Mazeina also ordered an re-haul of the rules governing when prisoners may use the jail's grounds and called for improved sports activities.
He also ordered the prison administration to improve the kitchen's menu and increase the range of produce at the prison's supermarket.