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Overcoming the Risks:

Can the Addition of Yoga, Mindfulness and Meditation in UK Prisons Help to Tackle Reoffending?


By Chenaii Crooks,

London Metropolitan University.


The use of yoga, mindfulness and meditation within prison to aid in the reduction of recidivism is a limited but evolving area within criminological research. HM Prison Service provides methods of rehabilitation to its offenders with the intention of reducing reoffending rates, although the recidivism rate in the UK is one of the highest among western nations. Scandinavian prisons utilise alternative methods of rehabilitation, such as yoga, mindfulness and meditation which may be a contributing factor to the low rates of recidivism in Nordic countries. This research report aims to understand the consequences of incarceration upon a prison population that already present distinct deprivations and how yoga may aid in the rehabilitation of these deprivations to ultimately tackle reoffending. Utilising secondary data analysis in the form of a literature-based approach, this research made use of journal articles, official statistics and academic research to achieve its objectives. This report specifically aims to understand the population to which this research pertains to by considering the official statistics that underpin criminogenic behaviours, the consequences of imprisonment, the costs of rehabilitation and how yoga, mindfulness and meditation helps to alleviate risk factors to aid in the reduction of recidivism. The report found that yogic practices in prisons may hold a basis in rehabilitative theories such as the Good Lives Model and Desistance theory by changing the perspective of an offender to eventually desist from crime. By compiling research that supports existing studies that propose yoga may be beneficial for the prison population to help to tackle reoffending, this report suggests that yoga may yield considerable benefits for this population in terms of addressing the risks a prisoner may present. These findings can be observed to improve rehabilitation in the prison system in the UK, although further analysis on this topic is advised.


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.8332175


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