Rehabilitation through Rugby for Change

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Rehabilitation through Rugby for Change

When first introducing rugby to young people that know nothing of the game, we get one or two responses, ‘I can’t wait to tackle’ or ‘No way it’s too rough’. But this is where the journey begins. Whether you are learning about safe contact in the game, or using your skills to find your place in the team, rugby builds character and relationships for life.

In 2016 new Ministry of Justice statistics shows that 147,757 offenders aged between 16-21 were cautioned, convicted or released from prison for a crime in 2011. Of those, 47,349 (32%) committed another crime within 12 months. The Rugby for Change programme has a proven success rate of 80% in preventing reoffending within 12 months of release from a custodial sentence.

Rugby for Change is supported by the Graeme Porteous Legacy Fund and provides rehabilitation for ex-offenders and helps to rebuild character through the values of the game. Rugby becomes an opportunity for each individual, where they use the session to break from routine to focus on physical and mental well-being. Though young people look at becoming fitter, stronger and faster, ultimately Rugby for Change equips ex-offenders to be tough enough to face the mental challenges in life.


Rugby for Change delivers weekly sessions in HM Youth Offenders Institution Isis in London.


Young male ex-offenders aged 18-25


‘Behind the gates’ Rugby for Change trained 24 young males ex-offenders by using rugby to imbed the ¬†rehabilitation process in the following pathways to reduce reoffending; attitudes, thinking and behaviour, education, training and employment and health. ‘Through the gates’ Rugby for Change provides weekly drop-in service on release so ex-offenders can gain additional mentoring while integrating back into their communities.

“The programme has been an extremely positive and effective tool in assisting prisoners to engage in their own rehabilitation. Their attitudes towards staff and prisoners too has changed as a consequence of working as a team, committing to something positive and developing a healthy ethos while inside. The inmates on the programme are showing signs of more adults thinking and behaviour.”

HMYOI Isis gym staff

For more information contact Alex Bassan, Head of Training and Development on