Social exclusion and crime: A critical exploration of sport and its role in crime reduction among adults
Sport has been promoted as having potential to contribute to crime prevention, rehabilitation and reduction (Coalter 2007; Nichols 2007). This rationale was accelerated by "New" Labour Government's policies (Coalter 2012). The interrelationship between sport, adult crime reduction and social exclusion provide a focus for this thesis. An initial policy review and literature review is followed by two empirical studies which investigate the use of a sports-based programme by an ex-offender (aged 39) and explore the attitudes via semi-structured interviews of gatekeepers (n=21) towards the use of sport for crime reduction purposes with adult populations. Key findings demonstrate that the provision of a sports-based programme for an adult ex-offender has the potential to assist the rehabilitation and resettlement process. There is evidence that the links between sport, career development and employability were particularly important amongst this older age band. There were mixed views from the gatekeepers towards the use of sport for crime reduction, particularly its potential amongst adult delinquents. There were instances where sport was being utilised in crime reduction practices, this was done on an ad hoc basis. Gatekeepers demonstrated concerns over raising expectations of offenders through sports-based qualifications and the public's negative perceptions of sport as an "easy option" for offenders. It is essential to adopt an holistic approach when examining sports within a crime reduction context, concentrating on those problems experienced by individuals engaged in sports-based programmes as opposed to the intervention itself (Crabbe 2000, 2008; Coalter 2012). Any quest to change behaviour patterns associated with crime will involve complex associations which create a myriad of outcomes (Coalter et al. 2000). In order to understand which approaches work for which subjects in what conditions, there is a need to obtain a deeper understanding of the complexities of participant's interactions with initiatives (Morris et al. 2003; Coalter 2012).
- School of Sport and Health Sciences