How to use sport to improve prisoners’ mental health
Opinion: sport can be effectively used to improve the mental health of prisoners and benefit their families and the wider community
The mental health of the prison population is significantly poorer when compared with those not in prison. While many prisoners will have experienced adverse health determinants as childhood psychological abuse or neglect, poor educational attainment and high unemployment prior to incarceration, hostile prisons conditions can contribute to the lower levels of mental health. Environmental factors such as over-crowding, interpersonal distrust, bullying, marginalisation, stigmatisation and a lack of purposeful activity combine to reduce the mental health of prisoners and increase their risk of mental illness, suicide, self-harm, violence and victimisation.