The National: Conjugal visit for married prisoners

ABU DHABI: As a measure to strengthen family bonds and values among prisoners and their families, five private rooms are being built in Abu Dhabi s biggest jail for husbands and wives to spend time alone together.

“We are introducing it because it is important for us in our culture to preserve family bonds and values. When an inmate is allowed to spend a few hours privately with his wife and children imagine how that will help strengthen his ties with his family,” said Colonel Mohammed Al Zaabi, head of Abu Dhabi s Punishment and Corrections Department.

“This is a project we are all very excited about and working on around the clock,” Col. Al Zaabi told The National daily, adding, “We hope these visits will be legalised within the coming year, but a project like this needs to be carefully studied as several problems can arise if not properly implemented.

The large private rooms are already being built at Al Wathba prison for conjugal visits that will be offered to all married prisoners.

Col. Al Zaabi said there was a draft law authorising the visits, but the legislation had not yet been passed.

“We hope these visits will be legalised within the coming year, but a project like this needs to be carefully studied as several problems can arise if not properly implemented,” he said.

Col. Al Zaabi said some inmates would eventually be allowed to make a home visit. “Many husbands, Emiratis in particular, find it unacceptable that their wives mingle with other men.

“So when we studied this project of permitting conjugal visits we recommended that instead of asking these women to come to the facility, we would allow inmates to temporarily leave the facility and visit their wives at home.” Inmates who would be eligible for such a programme are those serving sentences for petty crimes and not deemed a flight risk.

SOURCE: WAM