The government has published an independent review of the role of sport in the justice system, authored by Professor Rosie Meek. The review was commissioned to identify best practice in provision across the custodial estate, with a particular focus on health, reoffending and youth custody. The report highlights the need for co-ordination between physical education teams and wider custodial staff, and sets out a number of recommendations for greater collaboration and innovation - including measures to improve leadership, training and evaluation.
In its response, the Ministry of Justice has agreed to review its existing policies on the provision of physical activity in YOIs, and also plans for HMPPS to work with every YOI to develop physical activity and wellbeing strategies. Further proposals include increasing investment in PE to enhance existing opportunities; a review of prison menus to ensure healthy nutritional options; routine screening by healthcare, wellbeing and PE teams for new entrants to YOIs; and the inclusion of PE staff on decisions relating to "keep apart list" policies.
Notably, the MoJ decided not to follow Professor Meeks' recommendations to make boxing or martial arts based activities permissible, citing a lack of evidence about how such activities would translate into a custodial environment.