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Sports Helps Prison Inmates Transition Back Into Society

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Sports can reduce the re-conviction rate among criminal offenders, according to a new study from the University of Southhampton.

Newly developed research conducted by Dr. Rose Meek, a lecturer in psychology at the University of Southhamptom, in the United Kingdom, suggests that .

Dr. Rose Meek, a lecturer in psychology, observed 81 young adult male offenders at Portland young offender institution, in England, over two years as they participated in daily soccer and rugby events. The goal of the study was to determine how daily sports participation impacted the inmates successful transition back into society.

The study lasted for 15 weeks, and the results were examined by the researchers, prison staff, and local agencies that help assist offenders with their transition out of prison.

Out of the 50 inmates released over18 months, nine have re-offended or had to return to prison, which equates to an 18 percent re-conviction rate, compared to a normal average of 48 percent. Results also showed that daily sports activity were instrumental in assisting with impulsive behavior, conflict resolution, and overall aggression among the inmates.

With conviction rates remaining steady over the past several years, Dr. Meek believes these findings can be extremely useful in lowering re-conviction rates, as well as other challenges most inmates face both in and out of prison.

“I have devoted much of my research to exploring the psychological and social processes involved in the transition from prison to the community. Young offenders have one of the highest rates of re-conviction after release, with around three quarter re-offending with a year,” said Dr. Meek

“The current revolving door effect ruins lives, damages communities and costs the UK economy billions”, she said. “A clear finding from the research is that this innovative project is especially effective in using sport as a vehicle for change, engaging prisoners and motivating them to take responsibility for desisting from crime,” she concluded.

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