The Benefits of Sport and Physical Education for Young Men in Prison: An Exploration of Policy and Practice in England and Wales

Gwen Lewis, Rosie Meek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sport and physical activity is a universal addition to regimes across the secure estate in England and Wales and elsewhere. Although early criminal policy interventions incorporating sport were typically based on notions of deterrence and punishment — namely by enforcing physically and mentally demanding regimes on young offenders by means of American style ‘boot camps’ — attention has more recently been focussed on how the delivery of sport in prisons can confer benefits in terms of improving prisoners’ health and well-being1,2,3, promoting social control4, improving quality of life in prison5, facilitating behavioural change6 and supporting rehabilitation7,8. However, to date there has been no comprehensive exploration of the delivery of sport and physical education (PE) within prisons in England and Wales, nor the extent to which current practice corresponds with existing policy. This paper seeks to summarise existing relevant policy and explore the extent to which current policy agendas are integrated into the everyday practice of delivering physical education and sport in prison establishments holding young offenders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-11
JournalPrison Service Journal
Issue number209
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013

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