Cricket helps rehabilitate criminals
The Gloucestershire Cricket Board has joined forces with the
Ashfield Young Offenders Institution (YOI) to help rehabilitate teenage
criminals through sport.
GCB development officer Adam Jones has been offering weekly
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taster sessions at the Institution in
Pucklechurch with the aim of forming a team to play against local clubs
during the 2013 season.
He said: "Most of the lads haven't played a lot of cricket
before, so at the moment we are just trying to get them interested in the
game. A lot of them are naturally good
at sport so I am sure they will pick it up quickly. It is great to be able to
use cricket to offer them a second chance."
The sessions have been running since October alongside
academies set up in a number of different sports including football, rugby and
Stewart Stacey, head of PE and enrichment at Ashfield HMP
and YOI said sport plays a huge part in the inmates' rehabilitation.
He said: "It is a massive engagement tool, especially in
this establishment. It breaks down barriers between groups - we get quite a few
lads from London who are from a gang culture – and it also improves their
The academies are all set up in conjunction with outside
partners and the partnership with the GCB is also set to include the delivery
of a Young Leaders coaching award.
As well as using sport to develop inmates while they are
serving their sentences, Stewart says it can also have a positive impact in
helping individuals stay out of trouble when they are released.
He said: "If we give them the opportunity to get involved
with sport here it has a big effect on the reducing the rate of reoffending.
With a sport like cricket, a lot of them won't have played a lot of structured
cricket before but the idea is that they will enjoy it and want to continue
playing when they are released. Joining a club can help give them a focus and
may also mean changing their social group which can be a really positive
Over the past few seasons Ashfield have hosted a number of
games against local clubs including Chipping Sodbury and Carsons and
Mangotsfield - something they hope to
repeat in 2013.