Dubai police prepare inmates for life after prison with college courses

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Dubai police have signed agreements with two universities in the emirate to provide higher education to detainees.

The American University in the Emirates and Hamdan bin Mohammed Smart University will offer courses for inmates.

Four-year degree programs are offered in subjects such as business administration and accounting.

Dubai Police has secured 40 places for inmates at the two universities, said Brigadier Ali Al Shamali, director of the Dubai Police’s punitive and correctional facilities.

He said course costs have been eliminated for each prisoner, who will be able to connect to university lectures via remote access.

“We will take care of the fees for the expatriate inmates and since they cannot be physically present at the universities, they will be able to register online,” said Brig Al Shamali.

If an inmate completes their sentence before the end of the course, the universities have agreed to make arrangements for them to take the course from another location.

Thirty-two people between the ages of 28 and 40, who are serving prison sentences for financial or drug-related crimes, have so far registered to take the courses.

Some of them graduated from high school in prison through an education program that has existed in Dubai since 1979, to give prisoners the opportunity to complete their secondary education.

A total of 1,767 people have completed the program since its inception.

In 2021, 466 inmates took the high school exams.

As many prisoners come from different backgrounds, where English is not their first language, a number of inmates had to take the English as a Foreign Language test, which is one of the university requirements.

“We have organized a first course to strengthen the inmates’ English language skills for the TOEFL and we will soon start with a second one,” he said.

“Sixteen of them passed the tests and I really hope they will continue their university studies.”

After passing the TOEFL exams, inmates can start the college course and attend online lectures in one of the prison’s smart rooms.

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

“It’s one of 11 other smaller rooms and seats about 38 people.”

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

“The education of detainees, regardless of their nationality, is a top priority for the Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police,” said Brig Al Shamali.

Updated: April 28, 2022, 5:15 a.m.

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