Dubai Police prepare inmates for life after prison with university courses

Two universities have allocated 40 places for prisoners in emirate

Inmates are able to connect with the university lectures through remote access inside the prison. Image: Dubai Police
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Dubai Police have signed agreements with two universities in the emirate to offer third level education to inmates.

American University in the Emirates and Hamdan bin Mohammed Smart University will offer degree courses for prisoners.

The four-year degree programmes are being offered in subjects including business administration and accounting.

Dubai Police have secured 40 places for inmates at the two universities, said Brig Ali Al Shamali, director of punitive and correctional establishments at Dubai Police.

He said costs for the courses have been eliminated for each prisoner, who will be able to connect with the university lectures through remote access.

“We will handle the fees for expatriate inmates and, as they can't be physically present in universities, they will be able to join online,” said Brig Al Shamali.

If a prisoner completes their sentence before the end of the course, the universities have agreed to make arrangements for them to complete the course from another location.

Thirty-two people aged between 28 and 40, who are serving jail terms for financial or drug offences, have so far registered to join the courses.

Some of them have obtained their high school certificates in prison through an education programme that has been in existence in Dubai since 1979, to give inmates an opportunity to finish their second level education.

A total of 1,767 people have completed the programme since it was established.

In 2021, 466 prisoners took high school exams.

As many of the prisoners come from different backgrounds, where English isn't their first language, a number of inmates had to pass the test of English as a foreign language, which is one of the university requirements.

“We conducted a first course strengthening inmates' English language skills for the TOEFL and soon will begin with a second one,” he said.

“Sixteen of them passed the tests and I really hope they will pursue their university education".

After they pass the TOEFL exams, prisoners are able to start the university course and attend lectures online from one of the prison's smart halls.

“The hall has been equipped with loudspeakers, screens, laptops and iPads and is connected to the Wi-Fi,” he said.

“It's one of 11 other smaller halls and can accommodate around 38 people.”

Dubai Police hope to sign similar agreements with more universities, including the Higher Colleges of Technology and Skyline University College.

“Education for inmates, regardless of their nationalities, is a top priority for the Dubai Police commander-in-chief,” said Brig Al Shamali.

Updated: April 28, 2022, 5:15 AM