The role of physical education, sport and exercise in a female prison
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AbstractThe purpose of this study was to investigate the role of physical education, sport and exercise in the rehabilitation process of female prisoners. Research in this area is limited and often focuses on young offenders and male prisoners. Nine female prisoners from HMP Drake Hall, between the ages of 21 and 40, who participated in gym activities, at least three times a week were interviewed. This was a qualitative study using a grounded theory approach through in-depth open ended interviews. Questions focused on experiences and perceived outcomes related to their sport and exercise involvement. The data collected was then analysed using open, axial and selective coding. Five phenomena emerged from the raw data including Participation outcomes; General health awareness; Role of sport and exercise on rehabilitation for release; Developmental skills and experiences; Influence of sport, exercise or dietary awareness on plans post prison. Links between the phenomena were identified and a theory emerged beginning with the initial incarceration of a female through to participation in exercise and sport and results in the final release of a rehabilitated woman armed with the tools to cope with society in an acceptable manner. The Progression Model of Behaviour Changes through Sport and Exercise in Female Inmates developed from this research summarises the theory which evolved from grounded research. There were clear psychological, social and physical benefits of sport and exercise participation for the interviewees including increased confidence and self-esteem which contributed to the attraction to exercise and sport. The female prisoners also found that sport/exercise could be used as a coping mechanism to release feelings of aggression and anxiety. Due to the many positive outcomes associated with sport/exercise the prisoners planned their futures around this discipline. They chose to undertake coaching and academic qualifications, gained experience of instructing exercise and sport in Drake Hall and planned their careers upon release around sport and exercise. The prisoners expressed a desire to lead a healthy, socially acceptable and crime free life. This study will add to the limited body of literature in this minority population and will inform other female institutions of the rehabilitative processes associated with sport and exercise participation.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
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