Participation in sport as a mechanism to transform the lives of young people within the criminal justice system: an academic exploration of a theory of change

Haydn Morgan, Andrew Parker, Rosie Meek, Jon Cryer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Sport is often framed as a panacea for social disharmony, especially within the context of marginalised youth populations, and is widely promoted as a mechanism through which a multiplicity of social policy objectives can be achieved. Yet while political rhetoric has long pointed towards sport’s transformative abilities, the basis for such claims remains unproven. Theory-based approaches to evaluation have been posited as a useful device to explore the impact of specific initiatives and indicate where best practice may operate. The aim of this paper is to highlight one such theory-based framework that has been devised by practitioners in recent years around the operationalisation and evaluation of sporting interventions in criminal justice settings and which has come to be adopted as the dominant ‘theory of change’ across sport and criminal justice practitioner settings in the UK, but has, as yet, eluded academic scrutiny. To address this omission, the present discussion offers an in-depth analysis of this framework with the aim of discerning more clearly ‘what might work’ within sport and criminal justice contexts. In turn, the paper aims to stimulate further academic debate around the instrumental role of sport within criminal justice and the value of such frameworks for both policy and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)917-930
Number of pages14
JournalSport, Education and Society
Volume25
Issue number8
Early online date4 Oct 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Sport
  • criminal justice
  • marginalised youth
  • policy
  • theory of change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Education

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Participation in sport as a mechanism to transform the lives of young people within the criminal justice system: an academic exploration of a theory of change'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this