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Over the past few years, the rate of crime all over the world has been on the increase. As a result, different countries have different ways of dealing with criminal issues. For instance, while some countries permit the use of certain drugs, others categorically do not.

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When it comes to enforcing the rule of law, some countries permit the death penalty, others do not. Even about capital punishment, some countries use lethal injection while others use the firing squad. This paper seeks to assess these differences and similarities between the UAE and the US.

Crime Rates

In comparison to the United States, the crime rate is generally low in the United Arab Emirates. Occurrences such as pick-pocketing are generally seldom (USDS, 2011). Additionally, there are rare vehicle break-ins. This, however, does not mean that one should just be careless.

On the contrary, an individual has to take normal precautions against such things as theft, by making sure that belongings are not left unattended. The crime rate in the UAE is generally low since the legal systems use sharia law, which is very ruthless in its enforcement (USDS, 2011).

On the other hand, United States has one of the highest crime rates in the world today. According to the data gathered by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), there has been an increase in the number of such crimes as murders, which affects various cities all over the United States (Jencks, 2000). As a nation, America has a higher violence rate than UAE.

As a matter of fact, murder rates in the US are far higher than in UAE, including other rich countries such as Japan and Canada. It is a known fact that violence in the United States is a part of its mythology (Jencks, 2000). According to the FBI, there are four components of violent crime in the United States. These include murder, forcible rape, robbery, as well as aggravated assault (Jencks, 2000).

Drug Laws

On the issue of drugs, the UAE is majorly a transshipment country for drug traffickers (USDS, 2011). This is mainly because of its proximity to the South West of Asia, which is largely involved in the production of drugs. In the UAE, drug trafficking is actually a major crime. As a matter of fact, UAE applies a zero-tolerance policy on the use of illegal drugs. When an individual is found in possession of a small number of illegal drugs, such a person is liable for punishment of up to four years imprisonment (USDS, 2011).

The issue of drugs is so serious in the UAE in case an individual is carrying prescriptions of medication, one has to make sure that the medication and drugs are allowed in the UAE by checking the banned substances list, which is available at the Drugs Control Department or by checking with the Ministry of Health. This has to be done before any kind of drug importation into the UAE.

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In case the drugs are prescribed by a doctor in a foreign country, then a copy of the prescriptions has to be carried. This is because there are certain medications and drugs which are classified as narcotics in the UAE. Therefore, having these drugs is actually considered illegal.

On the other hand, the United States is the world's largest consumer of cocaine. Most of this is shipped from Colombia through Mexico. When it comes to drug laws, the United States has a complex assortment of drug laws, as well as ways of enforcing the drug laws.

This is because the complementary state and federal legislative regimes relating to illicit drugs usually overlap, and at times appear to conflict. For instance, in 1996, voters in California voted for the legalization of the growing use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, resulting in policy conflicts between federal and state governments.

According to the US national drug control policy, the prevention, education, research, and treatment are complemented by activities aimed at the reduction of supply. The policy is also concerned with reducing demand and supply by striving to reduce drug abuse and availability by half.

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Incarceration Rates

The rate of incarceration in the UAE is very low when compared to the same in the USA. Though the UAE Constitution prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, there are many reports that the government holds people in official custody (USDS, 2011). Apparently, this happens even without charge or preliminary judicial hearing.

Some cases involve the Ministry of Interior detaining even foreign nationals. This is because according to Emirati law, an individual can be detained indefinitely incommunicado without appeal. In such cases, a detainee is allowed to contact only an attorney without the opportunity of seeing friends and family.

Once convicted, an individual is taken to prison which is usually overcrowded. In most cases, the prison conditions for women are similar to those of men. Those who are convicted on national security grounds are usually held separately from the general population.

This is usually in general special state security facilities. It is worth noting that the conditions in these special sections of the prisons are usually not very different from other parts of the prisons. Apparently, prisons can be visited by friends and family, though it is not clear if religious observance is allowed.

Incarceration rates in the United States are very high. Over the past couple of decades, the United States has been heavily dependent on incarceration to respond to every kind of crime. As a matter of fact, even minor violations usually lead to an individual's imprisonment.

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This has made the United States have the highest incarceration rate in the world, being four times the world average (Hartney, 2006). As a matter of fact, the rate of people imprisoned due to different crimes committed in the USA is six times higher than the same number in other countries.

It is also worth noting that as a result of the high incarceration rate both local and state facilities are overcrowded, leading to health challenges to both the prisoners and the staff. Sustaining the correctional facilities strains the nation's annual budget, which is approximately $42 billion annually (Hartney, 2006). The US incarceration rate is very high in comparison to other developed countries such as France and United Kindom.

Unfortunately, the incarceration rate in the United States is grappling with the reality that African Americans are more likely to be incarcerated than whites, by over six times. Studies also indicate that the highest number of women in the world is incarcerated in the USA (Hartney, 2006). With approximately 200,000 women in prison, it has almost three times more women in prison than any other country in the world.

Death Penalty

The death penalty is still upheld in the UAE. In the UAE, criminals are sentenced to death for crimes such as murder, espionage, terrorism, rape, giving government secrets to enemy nations, converting from Islam, and drug trafficking (Katzman, 2012).

Additionally, death warrants are usually signed by both the President and the emirate's ruler. In most cases, a killer can be pardoned by either the victim's family or the ruler. Firing squad is the official method of execution, except in cases of adultery, which may lead to stoning.

The moment an offender is sentenced to death by all levels of the justice system, the Minister of Justice goes ahead and presents the case to the Ruler of the emirate where the case is to be adjudicated. For execution to take place there has to be a signature from the Ruler of the emirate and the President (Katzman, 2012). The presence of checks and balances is meant to make sure it is actually the last resort.

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In most cases, before execution, several factors have to be taken into account. For instance, according to the Islamic penal cord, an offender is not supposed to be executed on a public or religious holiday (Katzman, 2012). Additionally, a pregnant woman is also not supposed to be executed, until two years after giving birth.

In the United States, capital punishment was suspended from 1972. Unfortunately, it was resurrected by the Supreme Court in 1976. Since then, approximately 1300 people have been executed in the US, with the biggest number of executions taking place in Texas with 474 being executed. Of the people who have been executed, 12 are women. Apparently, African Americans form the greatest percentage of the executed convicts.

Unlike the UAE where the executions are carried out by firing squad, the US uses lethal injection. However, there are few exceptions. In many ways, the death penalty puts the United States in a tricky situation since the USA along with China create the world of executions, where thousands are executed annually.

Criminal Justice Issues in UAE

The UAE has no historically approached criminal justice issues. Over and above, since the rate of crime has been low, there has not been a significant shift in crime rates or attitudes towards any of the issues discussed above. This is mainly because according to the Human Rights Report, citizens in the UAE are not constitutionally able to alter anything, since the emirates are under a patriarchal rule with allegiance being offered to the ruling elite.

In many ways, unlike the other countries in the West, the UAE judiciary lacks independence. This is because the government sometimes interferes with civil liberties including the freedom of speech and assembly.

My Opinion on UAE's Current Policies and Orientation

In my view, UAE's current policies and orientation are effective in curbing crime. This is because when compared to other countries, such as the United States, the rate of crime has continued to be low despite the increase in the rate of crime all over the world.

These policies have greatly influenced the crime rate since people are conscious of the consequences of engaging in criminal activities and, therefore, they try as much as possible not to engage in crime. For instance, as a result of the zero-tolerance on drug trafficking, few have the guts to engage in the vice. As a result, the UAE has been able to maintain a very low rate of crime, compared to many countries all over the world.

UAE Policies are More Effective than Current US Policies

By and large, the UAE policies have largely been more effective in reducing the rate of crime, when compared to policies applied in the United States. One of the best examples is zero-tolerance to drug trafficking. In many ways, the UAE has effectively dealt with the issue of illegal drug trafficking than the US.

For instance, in the US, some policies on the war on drugs are either overlapping or conflicting. This is evident when it comes to the use of marijuana which can be medically applied in some states, yet the federal law is against its use.


The US and the UAE have several differences and similarities in their criminal justice issues. This is evident in their different approaches to the use of drugs, incarceration, death penalties, and policies that deal with law and order. All in all, it ought to be noted that countries all over the world should come up with policies that not only curb crime but are also fair and can be seen to be upholding human rights.

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