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The Implementation and Potential Impact of Electronic Monitoring (EM) of Offenders in the United Arab Emirates: A Comparative Case-Study

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posted on 2023-08-30, 16:41 authored by Saif Al-Wahedi
Electronic monitoring (EM) has become a key feature in the judicial systems of different regions and countries around the world. This study investigates the introduction of EM for the first time in the UAE to further knowledge and understanding of EM as a rehabilitative as well as punitive system in an environment which is new to this approach. Focus is placed on understanding the effectiveness of the pilot electronic monitoring project in addressing the needs of stakeholders within the UAE national, social and criminal justice context. This study adopts a case study strategy that uses mixed methods in a sequential design combining a qualitative approach for primary research and secondary data analysis. The research identifies critical areas of practice which influence the diffusion and adoption of EM in a new environment. The drivers of EM emphasising political, systemic and technological goals in both UK and UAE contexts highlighted far-reaching implications for the implementation climate. There is significant risk that drivers can lead to bias and imbalance by concentrating the nature and direction of EM towards a narrow agenda. Core challenges impacted on EM diffusion including integration of information and technology, the tension between standardisation and discretion, resource constraints and technical issues. Overall EM transfer was contingent on interrelated factors including the level of stakeholder knowledge and understanding, knowledge sharing and learning culture and the level of complexity in the implementation context. Stakeholder evaluation of EM consequences pointed to positive impacts on costs, recidivism, behavioural change and social relationships, while negative impacts were perceived on family privacy, stigma and possible net-widening. The centralised, closed and highly planned approach in the UAE may need to allow for greater responsiveness and discretion through adopting a more inclusive and open strategic approach. Realising the potential of EM may depend on an orientation towards a reflexive and emergent approach that promotes inclusivity that can achieve ongoing change and continuous learning.



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