Rehabilitation Focus in Abu Dhabi Earns International Recognition

The International Society of Addiction Medicine (ISAM) has lauded a recent law regulating correctional and rehabilitation centers in Abu Dhabi. This legislation, implemented in March 2024, signifies a significant shift in the Emirate's penal system, prioritizing rehabilitation and reintegration over solely punitive measures.

ISAM President, Dr. Hamad Al Ghafri, commended the law's comprehensive approach, highlighting its alignment with the UAE's commitment to human rights and humanitarian principles. He specifically praised the focus on providing adequate care and support to all individuals within the rehabilitation system. Dr. Al Ghafri went on to say that this development marks a major milestone for the UAE's global standing on human rights issues.

The new law renames punitive and correctional facilities as "rehabilitation and correctional centers," reflecting the emphasis on reforming behavior and equipping individuals for successful reintegration into society. These centers, overseen by the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, are tasked with receiving inmates, assessing their needs, and assigning them appropriate care plans. This includes informing them of their rights and responsibilities within the program. Furthermore, the centers are mandated to provide a range of services designed to address inmates' physical and mental well-being. Health and social care are central components, alongside educational and vocational training opportunities. These programs aim to equip individuals with the skills and qualifications necessary to secure employment upon release.

A critical aspect of the law is the focus on staff development. The centers are responsible for ensuring their staff receives ongoing training in line with best international practices. This training equips staff with the knowledge and skills to effectively implement rehabilitation programs and create a supportive environment for inmates.

The ISAM President underscored the UAE's proactive approach to human rights, particularly regarding drug addiction. He highlighted the establishment of specialized centers and the implementation of inclusive policies as examples of this commitment. The new legislation for rehabilitation and correctional centers in Abu Dhabi is seen as a continuation of this progressive approach.

This shift in focus within Abu Dhabi's penal system has garnered international recognition from a leading organization in the field of addiction medicine. The emphasis on rehabilitation and reintegration, alongside the commitment to staff development and the provision of essential services, represents a significant move towards a more humane and effective correctional system.

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