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PM urged to include sport in sentencing review plans

The Alliance of Sport urges Boris Johnson to include the recommendations from last year’s MoJ Sporting Chance report when planning his forthcoming review of sentencing policy.

The Prime Minister last week announced a hardline stance on sentencing for dangerous criminals, focusing firstly on violent and sexual offenders, and will consider whether changes in legislation are needed to lock them up for longer.

Mr. Johnson said his review will look at “how to break the cycle of repeat offenders”, adding: “We have all seen examples of rapists and murderers let out too soon or people offending again as soon as they’re released. This ends now. We want them caught, locked up, punished and properly rehabilitated.”

The Alliance of Sport is encouraged by Mr Johnson’s emphasis on rehabilitation and positively impacting on reoffending, thus we would therefore urge him to consider the findings of Dr. Rosie Meek’s report, Sporting Chance: A review of sport in youth and adult prisons. Its 12 recommendations aim to develop the use of sport and physical activity in criminal justice as a vehicle for rehabilitation and reducing re-offending.

In Dr Meek’s review (which featured significant input from the Alliance of Sport), organisations such as Leeds Rhinos Foundation, Brighton Table Tennis Club, Fight For Peace and 3 Pillars were held up as case studies for the clear impact of sport-based programmes on offenders’ physical and mental wellbeing, engagement, personal development, education and ultimately desistance from crime.

James Mapstone, the Alliance of Sport’s Chief Executive, said: “Within our Alliance of Sport community of practice, government departments and academic partners, we have built a robust evidence base which proves that sport is the ideal vehicle for promoting long-term behaviour change amongst those caught up in the criminal justice system. Sport’s potential for achieving the Prime Minister’s desired outcomes on rehabilitation and reducing reoffending rates, in partnership, is clear.

“We greatly hope that sport features in the discussions prior to the Prime Minister’s sentencing review. We know that embedding sport at the heart of criminal justice can ensure the future cost of offending and reoffending to the tax payer is reduced and that our communities are made safer.”

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