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Monday, 18 April 2011

EXCLUSIVE!! 'THE DAILY LIFE OF A PRISONER IN A DUBAI JAIL'


-A GREAT THANKS TO SIMON FOR TALKING TO US ABOUT HIS PRISON EXPERIENCE-


Centeral Prison - UAE
“Firstly let me tell you what to expect, in the police stations they are way overcrowded at the moment, you will not get a bed, you’ll be lucky to get a blanket, you’ll be sharing a bed space with others. 

In Muraqqabat there are 2 huge square units each with 8 or 10 cells around 2 sides, the back wall and on the front wall there’s a tv and the shower/toilet block, there is no way you can go outside, you’re inside 24/7, very little natural sunlight, tensions run high in there and there are regular fights.

In, all the other police stations there are corridors with cells along both sides, the worst is Al Rafa, that is crazily overcrowded, there are 8-10 guys in each cell (2 bunk beds per cell) and everyone else sleeps in the corridor on the concrete floor, there is a small exercise yard with marble tables but that is also full of people sleeping, there is no TV but you do have telephone access 24/7.

In Al Rashidiya, you need to hope you get taken to the downstairs 
cells straight ahead as you go in, not the ones upstairs or on the right,  this is known as the drug abusers place, the drug abuse amongst locals especially is horrendous, I saw one guy murdered there in a fight over who ran the canteen (very profitable) and the sexual abuse of (especially the far eastern – Chinese/Filipino) prisoners is horrendous, the cries of one Chinese guy being raped again and again will stay with me for years.

There is however a plasma TV with 2 decoders and a PS3 in there too, donated by a British guy who was on Interpol’s wanted list. Because of the venue, then there are more Locals in Rashidiya than the others. Bur Dubai has just been reopened after a refurbishment, again, no TV, limited phone access (or it was pre refurb) and a large open courtyard.

As I stated before ALL the police stations are crazily over crowded, fights are a common occurrence, usually between Arabs, I, as a Brit, was never touched. The prisoners are responsible for the cleanliness of their own cell block, usually the foreman (himself a prisoner) orders the cleaning to be done on a daily basis. In some Police Stations there are washing machines and tumble driers for your clothes, in most there is a trough for you to wash by hand.

In most police stations you can order outside deliveries usually once or twice a week, be prepared to pay double, there’s a few bribes need to be paid. There is also a canteen shop that sells toiletries etc. again, be prepared to be ripped off.

Red Striped Inmates
In Central jail – this is just in the “out” jail i.e. sentences for 6 months or less, true Central for 6 months + is different. You arrive handcuffed in a bus with steel for windows and no emergency exits, you get taken in to a holding cell where you’re split the ones who are in for more than 6 months are given their uniforms, all white with a stripe that indicates the time of the sentence, green or blue is less than a year, yellow 1-5 years and red 5 years +. After the Central guys have been taken then you get back on the bus and are taken to the out jail, which is on the other side of the complex, you go past the juveniles and the women’s jails, you’re taken out, names checked, cuffs removed and then you get your uniform and bedding, at the moment they give out 2 blankets, 1 to sleep on and 1 as a cover, you might get lucky and get a pillow too. These have been washed but are not new, you cannot wear anything that isn’t white, your wallet etc and all monies over AED300 is put into a safe – you can request more cash from your stash on a weekly basis (300 max). You then get strip searched by the guards – some seem to enjoy their job – and taken to another holding area or “amber” – dorm as they’re known. There are 8 ambers, each is a large common area with 2 dorms off to the side, each dorm has 96 bunks in sleeping 192 people so there are just under 400 beds. Problem is there are currently around 800 guys in each amber, so you’re on the floor in the common area. If your hair can be pinched you get it shaved, either by the prison barber or on of the inmates (for a fee) – clippers and shavers are both on sale. Don’t expect a Vidal Sassoon special, it’s over and done with in under a minute. Once you have a bed space in your allotted amber then you’re ready for a day in the life of a prisoner.

5am Breakfast, usually bread with either a boiled egg or yoghurt or cheese, then at 6.30 if you’re going to court you need to be up and on your way, if not then nothing much happens until 8am, you have the chance to see the officers if you have a good reason, for example you need to get your passport from a Police Station so you get put on the list. There is a travel agents in their too, no browsing allowed, one way tickets only, the phones in the ambers are open for 3 hours on a morning and 4 or 5 on an afternoon, the morning is the only time you will get anything “official” done. You also get the chance (twice a week) to go to the shop in the outside area, the prices there are reasonable, but there’s a limit on how much you can buy, 3 packs of cigarettes for example. If you’re a non smoker buy your share and sell them later on in the week to the desperate smokers – I was getting 30-50Dirhams per pack they also sell headphone radios and batteries. Lunch is at 11am and consists of rice and veg/meat/chicken with a piece of lettuce and some fruit or fruit drink. Bear in mind with 800 mouths to feed this will take a long time, especially as the canteen area only sits 90. Food is given on a metal tray and there is no cutlery, so it’s hands only.

Most people sleep in the afternoons – if they have a space, there is nothing much else to do. Then supper arrives at 5pm, this is macaroni and soup (OK if mixed together) maybe sausages or veg curry and rice, everything is spicy here. After supper there’s nothing to do again, just sit around, talk, there may be some books or a chess board there, but both are heavily prized, you can also occasionally get cards in and rummy is the usual game – obviously gambling is not officially allowed. If you get caught smoking in the toilet area (only place with no cameras, then you get privileges withdrawn for a month (telephone etc.) the only time you can officially smoke is after the meal brakes when you can go outside.

There are 3 counts a day to check everyone is there, you all sit on the floor outside in rows of 10 to be counted, this can often take forever cos half the staff can’t count. There are also search/raids every month where all the amber gets turned upside down, they’re looking for drugs, phones and weapons, and they usually find them too.

Lights out is around 11 or 12, but that doesn’t mean anything, you sleep when you can and when you’re tired. Then it’s back to the beginning.
On Fridays it’s visiting morning, I had one visitor in 13 months, you shout at each other through glass, as does everyone else, personally I didn’t think it was worth it.

Once you get used to the regime, the out jail is not that bad, it can be very frustrating but it’s clean – and cold and very, very boring. The police stations are different, you always need to be on your toes, they’re a very violent and filthy place to be.

13 comments:

Do not expect fairness from the Dubai cops. If you want to pound Dubai and get their attention, go after the comment areas in Dubai tourism as there you hit them in their wallet. The question to ask is why does anyone go there? Keep an eye on the ruler as he is involved in racing of horses. Plenty of places to shame them on anything to do with that.
Keep an eye on things like the "World" and the "PALM" housing development as well. Sites that sell property can have comments added...
Also, the Black motif on this site is very hard to read.

Thanks for your comment, please explain what you mean by 'Black Motif' V

Often while looking at your bed room, the first thing that catches your eye is the bedspread. And, when it comes to bed spreads in Dubai, the swanky yet traditional collection of the city can give every other place, a run for it. If planning to shop some real fine clothed bed sheets, Dubai reckons you with arms wide open.

This is horrible! ' I know some of those prisoners are innocent! Nobody deserves a bad treatment no matter how bad our mistakes are. I heard that Dubai is a nice place but after I read the mistreatment of their prisoners, I can't even take chances. I won't go to a place like that. Raping a prisoner is horrible!!! To begin with, you ar already mentally.emotionallyand physically tortured. Prisoners should be protected by the embassy. This is part of the responsibility of the embassy. I hope people can be educated about this.

I don't consider Dubai as a nice place to work and visit. A place that is very punitive even with a simple mistake and no justice is a terrible place to visit.We are all human beings and we all make mistakes. Abuse to prisoners should not be tolerated in a civilized community.!!!!!

I don't consider Dubai as a nice place to work and visit. A place that is very punitive even with a simple mistake and no justice is a terrible place to visit.We are all human beings and we all make mistakes. Abuse to prisoners should not be tolerated in a civilized community.!!!!!

This is horrible! ' I know some of those prisoners are innocent! Nobody deserves a bad treatment no matter how bad our mistakes are. I heard that Dubai is a nice place but after I read the mistreatment of their prisoners, I can't even take chances. I won't go to a place like that. Raping a prisoner is horrible!!! To begin with, you ar already mentally.emotionallyand physically tortured. Prisoners should be protected by the embassy. This is part of the responsibility of the embassy. I hope people can be educated about this.

This comment has been removed by the author.

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