Prisons: Boxing

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 16th December 2014.

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Photo of Charlotte Leslie Charlotte Leslie Conservative, Bristol North West

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the potential benefits of offering non-contact boxing programmes to violent offenders.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) is aware of the interest in promoting boxing as a prisoner activity and believes that their current policy to prohibit combat sports is correct.

A strong case may be made for the potential benefits of a scheme that provides prisoners with a productive activity and a route to employment after release. NOMS recognises the importance of physical education in supporting offenders to deal with their violent behaviour and concentrates its resource on its existing range of sporting activities and support programmes with a clear evidence base already available in prisons that effectively deal with many of the benefits associated with sports of this nature and prisoners reintegrating back into the community. I have decided not to progress this particular proposal in prisons.

I am also alive to the risk that a prisoner might use what he learns to inflict violence on other prisoners and staff.

I do however fully appreciate the positive impact that being a member of a sports club on release can give. The National Offender Management Service is keen to discuss options for how they can improve links between Boxing England and prisons so that prisoners can benefit upon release.

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