Legal experts analyze the imposition of community service as a punishment within the system
The unique court-ordered punishment of obliging offenders to perform community service, as exemplified in a recent case involving reckless drivers in Al Ain, has sparked discussions among legal experts.
The incident, where drivers were fined, had their licenses suspended, and vehicles confiscated, in addition to being tasked with cleaning the streets where they had endangered public safety through stunts, brought attention to the efficacy of community service as a punitive measure.
Legal experts, including Hassan Elhais and Barney Almazar, provided insights into this form of punishment. Elhais emphasized community service’s role in deterring offenders, fostering reform, instilling responsibility, and providing firsthand insight into the consequences of vandalism. He highlighted its effectiveness in preventing future crimes and the educational aspect for offenders to understand the repercussions of their actions on public spaces and government expenses.
Almazar delved into the legal aspects, mentioning that minor offenses like traffic violations can be penalized through fines, community service, or imprisonment, citing the withdrawal of a driving license as a potential consequence. Drawing from experience, he supported community service as an effective means to correct behavior, serve as a deterrent, and educate offenders about their impact on the community.
Both experts commended the UAE’s evolving justice system, which emphasizes restorative practices over purely punitive measures. Almazar specifically endorsed the use of community service due to its efficacy in correcting behavior and preventing recurring offenses.
This approach aligns with the UAE’s broader goal of building a responsible and cohesive society by focusing on rehabilitation and community engagement. Community service not only holds individuals accountable for their actions but also fosters personal development and a sense of communal responsibility. It serves as a promising alternative that balances accountability with opportunities for reform and community betterment.