Improving the mental health of young offenders in the UK

  • 1
  • January 30, 2019
Young offender yoga class

The Halcrow Foundation is funding a project run by the Prison Phoenix Trust which helps young offenders manage stress, improve their mental health, and deal better with life’s challenges outside the prison walls.

The UK-based charity teaches and supports inmates in the practice of yoga and meditation, which involves focusing on the body’s movements and breathing. By regularly attending classes and practicing yoga, inmates learn to relax and focus on reducing anxiety and stress while living in a restricted, crowded environment.

Jason Doble, Deputy Director at the Prison Phoenix Trust says: “Prisons hold some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable members of society, with a high percentage of inmates suffering from mental health issues. Because of the stigma and effects of imprisonment, they often continue a cycle of crime. Thanks to funding from the Halcrow Foundation we hope to halt that cycle, offering prisoners the tools of yoga and meditation to find out who they really are and choose a different future.”

Halcrow Foundation funding will support young offenders in the UK by helping the Prison Phoenix Trust provide regular yoga classes run by qualified teachers. Funds will also be spent on providing books, CDs and ongoing support to help prisoners maintain yoga practice within their cells, as well as a quarterly newsletter aimed at prisoners, ex-prisoners and the charity’s supporters.

About the Prison Phoenix Trust

The Prison Phoenix Trust is a charity based in Oxford, UK. It was set up in 1988 by Ann Wetherall who believed if prisoners are introduced to yoga and meditation they can strengthen their mental and physical well-being. The charity currently supports almost 180 weekly yoga and meditation classes in over 80 prisons and secure establishments across the UK. It works with all members of the prison community, including staff and officers, and aims to improve mental and physical health through simple breath-based meditation and yoga postures.

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