Bishop of Derby asks about sport opportunities for women in prison

The Bishop of Derby received the following written answer on 22nd March 2023:

The Lord Bishop of Derby asked His Majesty’s Government:

  • what steps they have taken to improve the opportunities for sport and physical activity for women and girls in the criminal justice system.
  • what progress they have made in improving the availability of sport and physical activity for women and girls in the criminal justice system; and what plans they have to expand provision.

Lord Bellamy (Con): Encouraging engagement in sport and exercise amongst women and girls in contact with the criminal justice system can have a significant impact on reducing reoffending through both early intervention and diversionary activities, as well as rehabilitation for those sentenced.

The Youth Justice Sport Fund is therefore funding over 200 voluntary and community sector organisations to carry out targeted work supporting children vulnerable to crime, using sport to address problem behaviour. We anticipate that 21-40% of the children being supported by the fund will be girls, which is lower than the national population but higher than the percentage of the offending population who are female (15%). While girls can access nearly all these services, a small number of these organisations specifically focus on girls as the primary cohort for early intervention. The evaluation report for the Fund will examine how future funding in sport can best engage and support girls at risk of entering the youth justice system.

We are continually improving our sport and Physical Education (PE) offer to all prisons, in particular by strengthening specific provision in the Women’s estate. Activities such as trauma-informed Yoga training as well as pre- and post-natal instructor qualifications can improve wellbeing and prevent reoffending, especially in a prison setting. Through initiatives such as Parkrun and the Twinning Project (which connects prisons to local football clubs so prisoners can access coaching and develop new skills), we are also increasing access to activities that support resettlement both in prison and back into the community.



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