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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Dubai set to try novel way of getting prisoners to read more books

A plan to cut jail terms for those who take up reading educational books is being considered by the Ministry of Interior

Prisoners in Dubai could soon reduce their sentences by up to 20 years by becoming bookworms, a police official has said.

Captain Mohammed Abdullah Al Obaidli, director of the learning and training section at Dubai Central Prison, said the move will be studied by the Ministry of Interior with a plan to implement it from next year.

“Dubai Police is considering a novel way to help prisoners shorten their sentences,” he said.

“Reading books will develop their personalities and education abilities.”

Read more: Reading is key to the future of the Arab world

As part of the initiative, the central jail’s library will be transformed into an e-library in the next year to encourage prisoners to read and to also take part in the UAE-led Arab Reading Challenge.

Police said prisoners will be tasked with reading books and then staff will discuss the books with them to ensure they have read them. Memorising passages from the Quran, for example, could reduce an inmate’s jail term by up to 20 years.

“The prison’s library will be switched into an e-library next year, and prisoners will receive iPad devices to download the books they wish to read,” Captain Al Obaidli said.

Captain Al Obaidli said that the reading initiative is one of a number that aim to rehabilitate prisoners to become functioning members of society on their release.

“Four important activities are being offered to prisoners, including sport, educational and religious workshops,” he said. “A total of 19,850 inmates benefited from educational activities and hundreds of prisoners are taking part in handicraft workshops.”

The handicraft workshops have been such a success, they have seen four prisoners managing to build four motorbikes and three off-road bikes.