Prisoners take on parkrun for first time

PRISONERS in Australia have participated in weekly parkrun events for the first time on Saturday, with HM Prison Dhurringile becoming the first correctional facility in the southern hemisphere to host a parkrun event.

Building on the success of prison-based parkruns in the UK and Ireland, which commenced in 2017 and now take place weekly in 13 prisons across all security categories with more than 2,000 prisoners taking part, HM Prison Dhurringile identified parkrun as an innovative intervention that promotes both physical activity and volunteering opportunities for inmates and staff.

Dhurringile parkrun took place within the confines of the prison perimeter and will continue each Saturday morning. The prison parkruns will be closed to the general public, with inmates and staff involved as walkers, runners and volunteer organisers.

parkrun Australia and HM Prison Dhurringile will work closely to positively impact the families of prisoners by encouraging family members to take part in their local parkrun to provide a shared and unifying experience.

Dhurringile Prison general manager, Colin Thompson said, “parkrun is a great opportunity to promote physical activity and volunteering opportunities for prisoners and staff.

“Sport and recreation plays an important role in improving the physical and mental health of prisoners, helping to prepare them for being released back into the community at the end of their sentence.

“The weekly parkruns will have a range of benefits, including providing the prisoners with a sense of belonging and increased self-confidence.”