"Prisons are extraordinary, often violent and grim places, and for many the opportunity to visit the prison gym, take part in sport - and generally let off some steam - is a critical aspect of coping with incarceration – Rosie Meek, professor, Royal Holloway University of London". (Image features Professor Rosie Meek, who is leading the review.)
The role of physical activity and sport in the rehabilitation and resettlement of offenders in the criminal justice system is being investigated as part of a review commissioned by the Ministry of Justice.
Professor Rosie Meek, of the School of Law at Royal Holloway University of London, is leading the review, which will look to help build a model for effective partnerships to improve the delivery of physical activity and sports programmes for offenders.
The report will analyse the impact sports programmes have on specific issues that affect offenders, such as gang affiliation, violence, employment, and health and wellbeing.
Professor Meek, who is a registered yoga teacher, told Health Club Management: “As a psychologist, I’m interested in the impact that sport has at both an individual and a group level.
“Prisons are extraordinary, often violent and grim places, and for many, the opportunity to visit the prison gym, take part in sport – and generally let off some steam – is a critical aspect of coping with incarceration.”
As part of the review, Professor Meek and her team are conducting an audit of sport and physical activity in the criminal justice system.
Examples of best practice are also being gathered through visits to secure establishments in England and Wales and community organisations.
A third element has been to collect opinions from those involved in sport across secure establishments.
Professor Meek added: “There is a strong rehabilitation element in much of my work in this area, with plenty of evidence that innovative sports-based programmes can have a powerful impact on various factors that contribute to rehabilitation, including promoting education, pathways into employment and volunteering opportunities, promoting stronger relationships with families and communities, and of course contributing to better mental and physical health outcomes.”
The review’s findings are due in Spring 2018.
First published www.sportsmanagement.co.uk, written by Deven Pamben, 15 Dec 2017.