Prison-based parkruns set to launch in Australia

Prison-based parkruns set to launch in Australia

Prisoners in Australia set to participate in weekly parkrun events

Posted on 18.04.2019

Prisoners in Australia are set to participate in weekly parkrun events for the first time from this Saturday (20th April) with HM Prison Dhurringile in Victoria becoming the first correctional facility in the southern hemisphere to host a parkrun.

The prison in central Victoria is a minimum-security mainstream facility that covers 420 acres and is a working farm with around 330 male detainees.

Building on the success of prison-based parkruns in the UK and Ireland, which commenced in 2017 and now take place weekly in 13 prisons across all security categories with more than 2,000 prisoners taking part, HM Prison Dhurringile identified parkrun as an innovative intervention that promotes both physical activity and volunteering opportunities for inmates and staff.

Dhurringile parkrun will take place within the confines of the prison perimeter each Saturday morning and be closed to the general public, with inmates and staff involved as walkers, runners and volunteer organisers. A second prison-based parkrun is then set to launch on 27th April at Mobilong prison in South Australia. If the events prove successful the initiative could be rolled out to other interested facilities across the country from as early as July.

Prisoners currently have access to sports opportunities, but in addition to providing the chance to be physically active in the open air, parkrun has the added benefit of promoting personal development through volunteering. This includes event management, public speaking, interpersonal communication and team building, providing prisoners with pathways into education and training and valuable skills for when they are reintegrated into society.

The benefits of physical activity in a prison environment are well documented in improving the physical and mental health of inmates and the atmosphere throughout a prison. It provides a sense of belonging, increased self-confidence, better moods and decreased stress.

Glen Turner, parkrun Australia’s Health and Wellbeing Lead said:

“The overwhelming success of prison-based parkruns overseas has piqued the interest of several correctional facilities in Australia. The beauty of this initiative is that it is eminently scalable and we have really been buoyed by the enthusiasm to introduce prison parkruns here.

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