Charity says: “Sports in prisons is being side-lined"

30 Jul 2014

PET has responded to recent incidents of disorder and self-harm in the wake of overcrowding and staff shortages across prisons in England and Wales.

Rod Clark, PET, Chief Executive, writing in the Huffington Post, highlights the negative impact this has on initiatives to educate and rehabilitate prisoners, such as sports-based learning.

He writes: “Operational pressures and a shortage of staff in many prisons are leaving prisoners locked up in overcrowded, hot, stuffy cells and unable to get to classes, jobs, or other meaningful activities.”

Referring to a PET report, Fit For Release, co-published with Professor Rosie Meek in summer 2012, Clark says this summer, which has seen prisoners follow the World Cup, Wimbledon and the Commonwealth Games, is a ‘missed opportunity’ as many positive projects to coincide with the events have been cancelled due to a lack of staff.

He wrote: “Sport has many benefits from helping to reduce violent tendencies and enabling people to cope with mental health conditions to improving prisoners’ prospects on release with opportunities for college, employment or volunteering all of which make them less likely to reoffend.”

To read the comment piece in full visit the Huffington Post UK Politics.

Editor's Notes

For interviews, photos or further information please contact Susannah Henty (PET), Media Manager:; 020 8648 7760 or visit

About PET

This year Prisoners' Education Trust (PET) celebrates its 25th anniversary. The charity was set up in HMP Wandsworth by a prison teacher and a barrister in 1989 who wanted to offer a wider range of courses to prisoners. That year, PET helped 12 people, now the charity supports approx. 2,000 each year to study distance learning courses across England and Wales. The charity does this by providing advice and funding for prisoners keen to study subjects and levels not generally available in prisons. PET also carries out research, informed by prisoner learners, to improve prison education.