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Pan-European Conference "Sport and Prison"

16-17 June 2014


French National Olympic and Sports Committee

Maison du sport Français
1 avenue de Pierre de Coubertin
75640 Paris cedex 13



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Prisoners On The Move

‘Prisoners on the move’: a project on inclusion through sports

The preparatory action ‘Prisoners on the move’ started in January 2011 with financial support from the Directorat-General Education and Culture, specifically the Sport Unit of the European Commission. The ‘Rode Antraciet ’ was coordinating this project involving 12 partners from six different EU Member States in order to investigate how inclusion can be enhanced through sports.

The project partners were: ‘De Rode Antraciet vzw’ (BEL), ‘Sport for Solidarity’ (UK), ‘CRED’ (Rumania), ‘Sport et citoyenneté (France), Prison and Probation Service (Denmark), Universitat de Valencia (Spain). In Belgium De Rode Antraciet is collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Justice, and organizations such as BLOSO, ICES/VUB and FROS. ‘Football +’ an initiative focusing on inclusion and football is supporting partner. The project was running till June 2012.

This project was one out of the five pilot projects aiming at exploring the opportunities and possibilities sport can offer to promote and enhance inclusion and social cohesion. (Other preparatory actions in 2011were focusing on doping and volunteers). The fact that sport is part of this European support was a relatively new phenomenon. Indeed, sport has been mentioned for the first time in a Treaty, in this case in the Lisbon Treaty that took effect from December 2009. The Treaty stipulates that the EU can undertake action in the policy area of sport. In 2007 the ‘White paper’ stipulated the future of the sport dimension in Europe furthermore. The five pilot projects are considered as preparatory activities. The future European Sports Agenda will build upon the conclusions and recommendations of those five projects. On the 19th of November 2013, within the ‘Erasmus +’ program for 2014-2020, sport received a specific budget line for setting up future actions.

It was quite remarkable that the Rode Antraciet was given the opportunity to execute this project and in this way, the organization will influence the European Sports Agenda. The Rode Antraciet is not an average sports organization. Since 2004 De Rode Antraciet is the regular partner of the federal Ministry of Justice and of the Flemish government with regards to promoting the sports and socio-cultural participation of detainees.  Its work is part of the Flemish Strategic Plan for Support and Service provision for detainees.  One of the starting points of this plan is that also citizens in prisons have the right to access sports and culture. Those who end up in prison, sometimes in a remand prison, are often obliged to stay in the cell for 23 hours out of 24. In this context it is of outmost importance to be able to have sports and physical exercise, with the view of a successful re-integration into society.

The project ‘Prisoners on the move’ has explored the opportunities and possibilities sport and physical exercise can acquire within prison walls. The project formulated recommendations to the EU with regards to the opportunities sports can offer in prison.  

The final report and all the individual research (annexes) of the project can be downloaded below.

Links for downloading: 

Final report 'Prisoners on the move'
Annex 1               Theoretical framework ‘social inclusion’ (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
Annex 2               Sport and physical activity in European prisons (University of Valencia)
Annex 3               Sport Landscapes (FROS)
Annex 4               Detention & Sport, from the perspective of the organized sport sector (FROS)
Annex 5               Sport in prison research (ICES and Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
Annex 6               Documentary ‘Free to Play’

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