What are the Benefits of Prison Recreational Activities?

Approximately 2.3 million people are incarcerated in the U.S.This is data that has been generated from federal, state, juvenile, and local incarceration facilities. Until congress reached a resolution, prisoners never had any form of recreational activity. Inmates may be able to enjoy activities such as stage plays, seminars, and music. Yard time eventually evolved into full-blown recreational programs for inmates. Outdoor prison equipment and much more are available for inmates to use, which comes with many benefits.

Types of Activities for Prison Inmates

Prisoners can engage in a variety of extracurricular activities that are grouped into several categories, including activity-focused recreation, reformative programs, and reintegration programs. These activities may be re-structured by prisons for prisoners so they can practice social distancing. 

Activity-Focused Programs

Activity-focused extracurricular activities could be either passive recreation or active recreation. Active recreation means that inmates can play a part in activities that consist of physical or cognitive effort. These activities may include playing an instrument, sports, acting, and board games. 

Passive recreation activities are ones that allow inmates to participate in entertaining programs such as watching TV programs, movies, sports activities, reading, listening to music, and playing video games. 

Reformative Activities

Reformative activities are another type of extracurricular activity in prison today. These activities are designed to provide information and knowledge, including lectures on soft-skills acquisition programs or substance abuse programs.

Reintegrative Activities

Reintegrative programs were created to help prepare inmates for life following their incarceration, including procedures for obtaining health services, counseling, and housing. 

Technological Recreation

This type of recreation enables inmates to visit their prison website to gain knowledge about COVID-19 measures at their correctional facility. 

Benefits of Recreational Activities for Inmates

Recreational activities include many benefits for inmates, including:

  • A boost in self-esteem in inmates- This has been seen as a psychological benefit. A male prisoner may only need to participate in sporting activities just to feel masculine. 
  • Occupies prisoner’s time- A prisoner will always find ways to cure his boredom. By providing inmates with recreational activities, they can be productive at that time, otherwise, they will run the risk of having other things to occupy their minds that are negative.
  • Alleviates the rate of recidivism- When you consider all of the benefits that recreational activities have on an inmate, these may influence their release. This will also result in good recreation skills, improvements in relationships with family members, and much more.
  • Helps to maintain good health- Gym sessions and physical exercise help inmates to achieve a healthy state of mind and body even while they are in an unhealthy environment. 
  • Acquire new skill sets- Recreational activities are a good way for inmates to attain stability and work towards becoming rehabilitated. These include soft skills such as loyalty, service, collaboration, and interpersonal skills.
  • Enable prison officers to gain information- Officers can observe the inmates while they are participating in recreational activities and drog logical inferences in regards to leadership, loyalty, and brotherhood within their rank.
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