Prisons: Sports

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 9th December 2014.

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Photo of Dan Jarvis Dan Jarvis Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the average number of hours per week offenders in (a) youth custody institutions and (b) adult prisons were physically active in each year since 2010.

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

All prisons are required to provide physical education (PE). The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) promotes participation in activities supervised and organised as part of an establishment’s agreed PE programme. Prison Service Instruction (PSI) 58/2001 Physical Education for Prisoners specifies the requirement for prisons to offer a range of sport and gym based activity for a minimum of two and half hours a week.

Additionally, the NOMS’ Incentives and Earned Privileges (IEP) scheme covers a range of privileges including how prisoners may earn additional time outside of their cells to engage in activities (other than work, education, treatment interventions or religious services) such as PE. Prisons are encouraged to provide a range of physical activities that suit the particular population balance within resources/facilities available.

It is also important to note that the design for the new Secure College Pathfinder includes enhanced sports facilities, including a running track, indoor gym hall and gym classroom. The range of facilities reflects the importance we place on physical education, sport and outdoor activities as part of an environment which is suitable for young people and an integral part of a sound and challenging education.

Specific data on the number of hours a prisoner engages in physical activity is not available as this varies by individual prison and prisoner depending on the IEP level the prisoner is on, the behaviour of the individual, the availability of constructive activities and supervisory staff.

NOMS recognises the importance physical activity plays in the overall well-being of prisoners and the effect PE can have on supporting other programmes designed to reduce offending behaviour.

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