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Alliance of Sport to lead review of sport in criminal justice

balls-jailThe Alliance of Sport is to lead a formal review alongside Professor Rosie Meek of the use of sport in criminal justice in England and Wales.

The review’s findings, which will be released in spring 2018, will inform future use of sport as a tool in the rehabilitation and resettlement of young offenders.

The review will also form an evidence base of ‘best practice’ across the community, youth, young adult and adult estate and make recommendations to maximise the impact of sport programmes in prisons and community sport partnerships.

The review was commissioned and formally announced today by Dr Phillip Lee MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Youth Justice.

The Alliance of Sport will conduct the review in partnership with Clinks, a charity supporting voluntary organisations that work with offenders and their families. Professor Rosie Meek of Royal Holloway, University of London, will be its lead academic.

One of the outcomes of the review will be a ‘toolkit’ allowing prison sport programme leaders and community sports providers to apply best practice to their work, train staff, measure their impact and form a joined-up approach with partners on either side of the prison gate.

Amongst other areas, the report will analyse the impact sport programmes can have on specific issues that affect offenders, such as gang affiliation, violence, employment, and health and wellbeing.

The review will provide a robust evidence base that will form the ideal platform for funders and Government policy makers to invest in the effective use of sport across youth justice.

“We are very excited to have been asked to carry out this extensive review, which is a significant step towards our vision of placing sport at the heart of the justice system,” commented James Mapstone, Co-Founder and Chair of the Alliance of Sport.

“All members of our Alliance believe in the power of sport to prevent offending and rehabilitate offenders. It would be the fulfilment of a lifetime’s work for many of us to see an enhanced package of Sport for Development adopted as part of everyday support for offenders inside and outside of custody.”

(N.B. Although some of the learning from the Alliance of Sport’s ongoing Sport England-funded project will support the review’s consultation phase, the two initiatives are separate. Both are investments focused on improving the levels of support for some of society’s most challenging and complex young people, but our project funded by Sport England places a greater emphasis on the lifestyles of young people at risk of anti-social behaviour and offending, and the role port can play between custody and community.)

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