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Independent Review of Sport in Youth and Adult Prisons calls for institutions to devise and implement an integrated physical activity and wellbeing strategy.

Professor Rosie Meek of Royal Holloway, University of London has published her A Sporting Chance review setting out 12 recommendations for the use and management of sporting activity in prisons, YOI’s and Children’s homes.

The recommendations are largely targeted at prison staff and senior managers, HM Prison and Probation Service, the Ministry of Justice, and the wider Criminal Justice and Sport and Fitness sectors, particularly those involved in designing and delivering prison sports programmes.

She said ‘Sport can have an impact on almost every aspect of everyone’s life. In prison, just as in our communities, the impact of sport can be far-reaching. Participation can not only improve health and behaviour but can directly contribute to efforts to reduce reoffending, particularly by providing a route into education and employment.

In responding to these recommendations, we have a collective responsibility to challenge outdated and ineffective policies and practices and to make greater efforts to instil in our prisons a consistent culture of learning and wellbeing, both of which are fundamental in promoting a wider rehabilitative culture’.

She continued ‘My suggestions for the reform of physical activity in custody should be seen in the context of other Government campaigns, and now is the time for the Ministry of Justice, HM Prison and Probation Service and Youth Custody Service to work together with partners such as the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Department of Health and Social Care, Department for Education and the Home Office, many of whom are progressing with their own strategies, in order to develop coordinated efforts to promote physical activity.’

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