Directorate of Elderly Rehabilitation- Duhok has been established on 1/1/2008 on 1 square kilo meter and it can bear 1500 prisoners, and has been built by a Swedish company according to international standards and general regulations for prisoners issued by the United Nations, the prison is equipped with early warning system, cameras and a central observer.
As many sources referred is one of the best prisoners in the Middle East and the world in terms of buildings, treatment with the prisoners, human rights principals and providing good health conditions. It is located in Duhok province in Iraq Kurdistan Region. Before, it was controlled by Kurdistan Regional Government Ministry of Interior, but now it’s under the control of Ministry of Social Affairs and its name has been changed from ( Zirka Prison) to (Directorate of Elderly Rehabilitation- Duhok) and it’s now a center of rehabilitation and rebuilding the personality of human whom have committed and crime or done a fault in the society.
The conditions of human rights in Directorate of Elder Rehabilitation – Duhok, according to many human rights organizations and activists are good. All the prisoners are treated in a good way and they enjoy most of their rights as a prisoner during the time they spend inside the rehabilitation center.
The prisoners in the Rehabilitation Directorate enjoy many rights. Their bed and places are suitable and comfortable, there is a hospital with many parts and some doctors take care of prisoners and treat them if needed. Also there is a library for who wants to educate himself and spend his time by reading. A school has been opened for the prisoner who wants to continue his study and it’s until the sixth primary grade which accordingly he can get his certificate after the graduation and it’s dealt with like any other certificates.
Also there is a gym hall which prisoners can spend their times in according to a timetable organized by the administration, and there is a computer hall which consists of several computers, and courses of learning how to use computer and internet are being open regularly and until now many prisoners have taken part in the courses and have got advantages.
The Directorate is regularly being visited by none-governmental organizations such as Red Cross, United Nations, European Union and many other human activists and according to the manager of Directorate they can meet prisoners individually and ask them about the situation and the treatment in the directorate.
In general the Directorate is focusing more on rehabilitation than the punishment and try to make changes inside the people who one of the days have done something wrong in the society and once again take them back into the society with different personality which can be a productive person.
In general the situation there is good and almost every thing is provided to the prisoners in terms of education, health, leisure and other things. The prisoners can continue their study in school inside the Directorate. They have the right to contact their family once a week and their family also can visit him twice a week. Every prisoner gets 30,000 ID as a monthly salary. There is a market inside the prison and prisoner can buy what he needs. They can work small jobs inside the prison and some of them are working in farming plastic houses and became a productive person. There are courses for prisoners for learning computer and internet access. In spite of that, a school has been opened to who wants to continue their study.
The Directorate is under the control and inspection of many organizations and they visit it regularly and can meet prisoners and ask them about the conditions, that’s why the treatment with all prisoners is good.
“Spending leisure time!”
Regarding spending their leisure time, as the director revealed, prisoners can get out of cells 5 hours in day (10 am to 3 pm), but they can only walk in the long corridors and according to the director only some prisoners can go out side to the gardens, and they are who doing agricultural things inside the prison. There is a sport hall includes some sport instruments which according to the director any prisoner can use them for spending their leisure time. Also we saw a library which has been opened for prisoners who want to read and educate themselves, according to the director every prisoner can borrow book to his cell and read it and then return it to the library.
The freedom of movement is restricted to prisoners. As we said they have 5 hours in day walking in the corridors and going to library and the small market or other places. But as the director told us, it depends on the type of the crime that the prisoner has done; some prisoners have more freedom inside the prison than others. For example some of them can go out side cells and corridors to farming lands and to the gardens; but some of them are not allowed to do so. But in general, as we said it depends on the type of the prisoner.
“The treatment is good!”
However we couldn’t meet any prisoner inside the prisoner; but as we heard it from the manager, the treatment by the guardians and the administration is good and respectful. And they treat with the prisoners according to law and human rights principals. According to the director there are some special treatment to some kind of prisoners whom their crime is not heavy or their behavior have been changed to better. Also we knew from him that they appointed some prisoners as inspectors inside the cells so as to control the situation and prevent any violence from happening in the prison, if course these inspectors are treated differently from the others.
“Different Criminals in different places”
Many prisons around the world don’t take this in their consideration and they put all kind of criminals in the same cell, which is very dangerous and they affect each other’s behavior. In Directorate of Elderly Rehabilitation – Duhok, there are different cases of prisoners, some of them committed heavy crime like killing, drug treatment and terror, but others are not, they are imprisoned because of small crimes like traffic accidents and thing like that. Of course each of them has special and different cells; because it’s very dangerous to keep them together in the same cell and they affect each other in bad way and their behavior will be worse than being better.
“Prisoners can go home”
The prisoners call their families once a week and for 10 minutes only, they can’t use internet access, because they are inside a prison and their freedom is restricted, that’s why that wouldn’t have to communicate with outside; especially with some serious cases of criminals. All the prisoners have the right to meet their families and relatives regularly twice a week. There specified days for this purpose and they are Monday and Thursday and the visiting time is between 8 am to 2 pm. Also the manager told us that some prisoners whom cases are not serious and their sentence is longer than 6 months, they can go home for one week in every three months. And this is organized by law and has its specific principles.
Every prisoner is free to practise his religion and prayer whenever and wherever he wants, but there is a mosque which is built for Muslims to practise their religious ceremonies and pray in it. But as we knew there is no special place for other prisoners who are in other religions and they are minority. But in any occasions, priests or their religious men visit them and they do their ceremony. Because majority of the prisoners are Muslims, therefore, religious rehabilitation has a big role in the Directorate and every Friday the prisoners attend Friday Sermons and get advice for their life.
All prisoners are required to obey the law of the Directorate and keep away from making troubles with each other. Regarding the uniform, the director told us that all prisons in Kurdistan and in the world oblige uniform to the prisoners; but they don’t. Because, as he said, prisoners are not comfortable with wearing uniform and they prefer wearing dresses that they like; that’s why the administration hasn’t obliged any prisoner to wear uniform and everyone is free.
Finally we can conclude that The Directorate of Elderly Rehabilitation in Duhok is the first of its kind in the Middle East in terms of human rights conditions, providing education and health service to the prisoners and many other things. Prisoners are treated according to human rights principles and under inspection of many humanitarian organizations such as Red Cross and UN, and allegations from many kinds of non-governmental organizations visit the Directorate regularly.
The directorate is consisted of: Hospital, School, Library, Gym hall, Farming plastic houses, Mosque, Swing hall and market. These are all for the prisoners and some of them managed by prisoners themselves; like farming and some times the market is being managed by prisoners.
All prisoners get 30,000 ID as a monthly salary, and they have a good food system, they can call their family once a week, their family can visit them twice a week and some of the prisoners can go home for a week every three months.
In general, human rights conditions in the prison is good and human are respected there despite being guilty or criminal. And we are satisfied about almost every thing we’ve seen by ourselves and heard about the prison by the manager of the Directorate.
University of Zaxo
Faculty of Humanity
English Department- Second Year
Human Rights Conditions
Directorate of Elderly Rehabilitation - Duhok
Nawzad Nayf – Shvan Bandr( Shvan Goran) – Aveen Saleem– Suleiman Jasim – Wafa Saleem – Parween Yaseen – Dilgesh Abdolkhaliq – Hozan Tijer – Ibraheem Majeed – Zaynab Mohammad– Fahmi Ahmed – Khawla Sa’eed – Rizgo Khalaf– Nadiya Yousif – Mohammad Adil