All inmates in this jail in the UAE get bank accounts in first-of-its-kind initiative

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Inmates at the Sharjah Punitive and Rehabilitation Establishment. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Sharjah: All prisoners under the supervision of Sharjah Punitive Establishments Department now have their own bank accounts, which can be used both inside as well as outside the country. Bank cards will be issued to every prisoner in Sharjah as part of this initiative.

In a first-of-its kind initiative, Sharjah Police has signed an agreement with Sharjah Islamic Bank to open bank accounts for inmates, which will allow them to access their accounts anytime and anywhere in the world even after their release. The initiative is a new milestone in providing inmates with new services.

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Brigadier Ahmad Abdul Aziz Shuhail, Director-General of the Sharjah Punitive and Rehabilitation Establishment Image Credit: Supplied

The move allows inmates and their families to complete financial transactions and make payments via digital channels that adhere to the highest international security and quality standards.

Direct deposits in inmates’ bank accounts

Sharjah Punitive and Rehabilitation Establishment is taking a number of steps to improve the condition of inmates in correctional facilities in the emirate.

Brigadier Ahmad Abdul Aziz Shuhail, Director-General of the Sharjah Punitive and Rehabilitation Establishment, told Gulf News the establishment is caring for inmates and their families through a memorandum signed between Sharjah Police and a number of partners, including Sharjah Islamic Bank and Sharjah Co-operative Society.

Family members of the inmates will now be able to deposit money directly in these accounts without having to approach Sharjah Punitive and Rehabilitation Establishment. There is no limit on the amount that can be deposited in the inmates’ account. All cash transactions have been cancelled at the establishment and payments only by cards are now accepted.

Each prisoner is responsible for his or her account and the rehabilitation establishment has nothing to do with it. The new system has simplified the process of making financial transactions for the inmates and their family members, Brigadier Shuhail said.

Previous system

Previously, the inmates’ family members and relatives had to approach the establishment and deposit the money in cash, which could be used by the inmates to pay for their daily necessities. If the family of an inmate happened to be outside the UAE, then the family had to first remit the funds to an acquaintance in UAE, who would then have to physically visit the establishment and hand over the cash to the authorities for the inmate’s use.

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The Sharjah Punitive and Rehabilitation Establishment has signed an agreement with Sharjah Cooperative Society to provide canteens with fresh items at prices cheaper than the market. Image Credit: Supplied

The establishment offers inmates with spacious cells and halls with adequate facilities. The priority is to keep the prison clean and healthy. Brigadier Shuhail said the prison has an ‘open-door policy’ and prisoners are encouraged to freely discuss with the staff any problem that they might be facing. Major General Saif Al Ziri Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police, visits the jail regularly and personally follows-up on inmates’ issues.

Canteens at police stations

Meanwhile, the rehabilitation facility has opened a canteen in each cell, which enables inmates to purchase items of daily necessities, using their bank cards. The Sharjah Punitive and Rehabilitation Establishment has signed an agreement with Sharjah Cooperative Society to provide canteens with fresh items at prices cheaper than the market. Similar canteens have also been opened in the custody areas at Al Saja and Wasit Police Stations, Brigadier Shuhail said.

The service is available 24 hours.