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Groundbreaking inquiry launched to examine physical activity levels in England and Wales’ secure estate

In a significant development, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sport and Physical Activity in the Criminal Justice System (APPG) has unveiled an independent inquiry to explore the issue of physical activity within the secure estate of England and Wales. The inquiry will encompass facilities for adults, children and young people marking a pivotal step towards addressing concerns surrounding physical inactivity in these settings

This initiative comes in the wake of alarming reports highlighting the adverse effects of physical inactivity on individuals within the secure estate. It stands in stark contrast to a growing body of evidence indicating that engaging in physical activity and sports can play a pivotal role in promoting healthier, pro-social lifestyles and reducing reoffending rates.

Objectives of the Inquiry

The APPG’s independent inquiry has set forth a clear set of objectives:

  • Understand what facilities exist that are suitable for delivering physical activity and sport, and therefore the rehabilitation of those in the secure estate.
  • Explore the progress that has been made since the Sporting Chance: Independent Review of Sport in Justice report was published in 2018.
  • Identify models of effective practice and explore barriers to delivery and scaling up.
  • Identify tangible next steps to help the government prioritise physical activity as a means to improving wellbeing and the rehabilitation of adults, children and young people in the secure estate.

A comprehensive report detailing the inquiry’s findings is planned for publication in the summer.

Inquiry Structure

This pioneering inquiry, the first of its kind for the APPG, will be structured as follows:

  • Written Evidence: Experts in delivering physical education, activity, and sport in secure settings will be invited to submit written evidence, with a specific focus on strategies to reduce reoffending.
  • Oral Evidence: Key stakeholders will participate in evidence sessions to share insights and experiences related to the delivery and evaluation of physical activities within the secure estate.
  • Visits: The inquiry team will seek to make direct observations of secure establishments to gain firsthand insights into the opportunities and challenges related to delivering physical activity programmes.
  • Report: The inquiry’s final report will encapsulate its findings and recommendations, offering valuable guidance for government action aimed at improving access to physical activity within prisons.

This inquiry serves as a testament to the APPG’s unwavering commitment to enhancing the lives of individuals within the secure estate through physical activity and sport. By investigating current practices, barriers, and potential solutions, the inquiry seeks not only to shed light on critical issues but also to pave the way for effective, actionable measures that will benefit both individuals and society as a whole.