Bahrain may offer free education to prisoners
Manama, April 9, 2013
All inmates in Bahrain’s jails could soon be provided free education, training and jobs as part of a new law designed to improve prison conditions in the kingdom, a report said.
An article of the law approved by the Shura Council yesterday requires the Education Ministry to come up with a "prison curriculum" in co-ordination with the Interior Ministry, according to the report in the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
The Interior Minister would be obliged to determine education and training guidelines, bylaws and the best way to conduct exams.
Meanwhile, Shura Council foreign affairs, defence and national security committee chairman Dr Shaikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa said work would be compulsory for convicted criminals, unless they were medically unfit.
"There will be a range of handicrafts or vocations that will be divided among prisoners according to their qualifications or capabilities," he said.
"Bylaws drawn up by the Interior Minister will determine the types of jobs on offer, their hours, wages and deductions."
He revealed inmates could even be allowed to work outside of prisons, with salaries either going to their' families or to them to spend in a correctional facility shop.
However, prison management would be allowed to save half of their salary to be handed over on their release if there are concerns the cash could be misused.
If the inmate died, the savings would be passed on to a relative as inheritance, or deposited in a fund for outstanding prisoners.
"The management only has the right to make deductions in wages for damage to facilities," said Dr Shaikh Khalid.
The law requires the appointment of a director of correctional facilities, who will be responsible for all detention centres, heading a team lead by chief wardens, policemen, guards, educational and vocational instructors, medics, social supervisors, psychiatrists and others.
Inmates would also have the right to meet their families in their first week of imprisonment and at least twice monthly, with exceptional visits determined by the warden or his deputies.
However, prison management would be able to block visitation if the visitor disobeyed orders or possessed banned substances.
Meanwhile, authorised human rights organisations would have the right to visit correctional facilities and inmates could appeal their sentences or send pleas to His Majesty King Hamad seeking a pardon. – TradeArabia News Service