Black and Minoritised Ethnic Prisoners' Percepions of Sport and Physical Activity

Raised of $5,000 Goal
Ended on 7/01/17
Campaign Ended
  • $54
  • 2%
  • Finished
    on 7/01/17

About This Project

The Ministry of Justice (UK) statistics on race state that the prison population is over-represented by Black and minoritised ethnic (BME) prisoners. In many prisons, 26% of the prisoners are from a BME background compared to 12% in the general population. The criminal justice system uses sport and physical activity for correction and rehabilitation but few studies have attempted to establish the validity of these claims from the perspective of BME prisoners.

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What is the context of this research?

The prison population in England and Wales has risen steadily since the end of the 2nd world war and currently stands at around 84,000. Of that prison population, the Mixed Race, Asian/Asian British, Black/Black British, and Muslims are heavily over-represented making up approximately 25% of the total population. Muslim prisoners are over three times their 4% of the general population. Where research has recognised the significance of ‘race’ in the criminalization of black communities, the significance of sport and leisure in the lives of black prisoners has not. While sport has been lauded to contribute to social cohesion, readjustment, improved self esteem and reoffending behaviours, the acid test of these claims will be explored at source.

What is the significance of this project?

The more convincing work on prisons and sport reveal sport's meaning as multidimensional. So how does sport work for/against BME prisoners? This study will seek to reveal if the prisoners' use of sport is a significant factor in establishing a routine. As a factor that is imbued with meaning and potential physical, psychological and social benefits in the prison and sport literatures, how is this reflected in the experiences of BME prisoners? As BME prisoners constitute a substantial section of the prison population the study will make their voices heard. Any implications for policy and practice will alsot be shared for implementation with the appropriate authorities to improve the conditions of BME prisoners.

What are the goals of the project?

Based upon the conclusions of a current pilot project, a methodology will be finessed to extend the examination of BME prisoners' experiences of sport and leisure. I will use my contacts in the Prison Governors' Association to gain expressions of interest and select four prisons based upon catchment, size, geography, prison population demographics and risk category.

Interviews will be conducted with the main Governors, and the officers responsible for physical activity provision to enable any similarities and disconnections between the purpose and value of provision to emerge. Approximately 10 BME prisoners will be interviewed per institution, where their views on the place of sport and physical activity will be invited.


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The budget facilitates travel to institutions and for interviews conducted by a research officer with prison service staff. Governor and Officer interviews establish a policy/institutional context for the provision of sport and PA facilities. The four prisons will be located in England and will be finalised on conclusion of a pilot currently being conducted in West Yorkshire, UK.

The interviews with prisoners will require multiple visits and therefore take up the bulk of the budget. These interviews are planned to be in twos/threes dependent on the individual context/risk categories.

Transcription costs are a necessary aspect of such qualitative studies. The miscellaneous category takes into account subsistence and builds in some flexibility for covering 'unknowns' in the field.

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Research has demonstrated the complexities of what sport represents generally; in prison further factors are added, making for an even more confused picture of how sport might best make a positive contribution to people’s lives. The significance of this research is that it offers the prospect of giving a hearing to the voices of people who are normally ignored. The current pilot gives confidence that the planned research procedures are capable of delivering rich material capable of guiding future policy and practice.
This is a timely and important piece of research that needs to be completed. At a time when life inside prison is becoming increasingly dangerous and psychologically damaging, the impact of purposeful activity outside of the four walls of a cell takes on new significance. Locking someone in a cell for 23 hours a day will only provide negative consequences. Providing someone with access to physical activity can reduce the atrophy of mind and body. I am excited that Prof. Hylton is bringing his academic expertise to this neglected field of study.

Meet the Team

Professor Kevin Hylton
Professor Kevin Hylton

Professor Kevin Hylton

Professor Kevin D. F. Hylton PhD

Professor of Equality and Diversity in Sport, Leisure and Education

Carnegie School, Leeds Beckett University

Adjunct Professor, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia

I am Professor of Equality and Diversity in Sport, Leisure and Education. I am the first Black Professor to hold this title. I also have the honour of being Head of the Research Centre for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Leeds Beckett University, UK. Broadly, my research focuses on ‘race’ in organisations and especially in sport, leisure and education. Over my career I have published extensively in peer reviewed journals and high profile book projects. One of my key publication is entitled ‘Race’ and Sport: Critical Race Theory (Routledge, 2009) and I am currently writing Contesting ‘Race’ and Sport: Shaming the Colour Line for Routledge. I am part of some really interesting and beneficial networks, I am a Board Member for the International Review for the Sociology of Sport (IRSS) and the new Journal of Global Sport Management. I am also proud to be Patron of the Equality Challenge Unit Race Equality Charter, and Chair of the Leeds Beckett University Race Equality and Diversity Forum.

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Project Backers

  • 2Backers
  • 2%Funded
  • $54Total Donations
  • $27.00Average Donation
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