Life in a secure unit: the rehabilitation of young people through the use of sport
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Sport is used widely in the rehabilitation of British young people who are resident in secure facilities following criminal sentencing, during remand or for welfare reasons. The research uses a quasi-longitudinal observational study in a secure unit, located in Southern England, and questions the suitability of sporting activities used as a primary vehicle for, and mechanism of, rehabilitation. Through the analysis of experiences at the unit, the paper supports the use of those sporting activities which de-emphasise regulations and winning, and argues for an emphasis on choice for participants, the tailoring of programmes to suit individual needs, and on positive feedback. Sport evidently has an important role in youth rehabilitation. However, it should be used selectively because, if unsuitable activities and programmes are used, they may have a detrimental effect on participants. The paper demonstrates the usefulness of qualitative research methods in rehabilitation studies.
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