x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Dubai inmates to get more call time behind bars

Dubai Central Prison will install more than 200 new lines for its inmates in a bid to cut down long phone queues.

Prisoners in Dubai will have easier access to phones from next month, when Dubai Central Prison doubles the number of available land lines behind bars.

There are currently 220 phones at the prison. These are shared between around 4,000 prisoners who each have two hours of phone time allocated per day.

The move to revamp the system comes in response to complaints raised by inmates about long phone queues.

"We want to ensure the right of any inmate to contact family, friends or any other party," said Maj Gen Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina, deputy head of Dubai Police.

The new phone system, which is being installed for free by Etisalat, will allow prisoners to keep tabs on how many minutes remain in their accounts. They will also be able to talk beyond the two consecutive hours currently allowed, according to prison administration, although they did not specificy what the new time allocation would be.

As is the case now, prisoners will still have to pay for any phone calls they make.

Although the new system is commonly used in European prisons, it is the first of its kind in the region, according to Mohammed Mubarak Al Abbar, the owner of the company that is providing the system to Etisalat.

"It could be developed to have a capacity of 100,000 lines," he added.

wissa@thenational.ae