National Correctional Recreation Association 31th Annual Conference Oklahoma City OK March 6, 1998
He opened his talk, saying he would be discussing:
Individuals have not had the health care that mainstream America has. Many are or will become chronic. Most inmates coming in do not have a healthy behavior.
10 years ago less than 25% had drug related charges. Now 75% have drug related charges.
Inmates are older, staying longer, sicker than the general public, lacking self esteem and lacking good health habits.
If we do nothing , they will progress to a more chronic situation (high blood pressure, strokes, emphysema).
Resources are not freely flowing. They are scarcer and more restrictions are attached to them.
We need to remember they were incarcerated as punishment not for punishment.
Bodybuilding, and free weights are prohibited in the federal system by law.
We must do more, for more, with less.
We have a responsibility to our clients to improve their self esteem through sports and recreation.
Health and wellness can make a difference for the individual. Food Services (good nutrition), safety and environmental health, psychology and chaplin services, corrections and custody (develop appreciation for the rules), education, recreation (physical, emotional, intellectual).
There have been two recent major events on health.
You do not want correctional recreation to be lost in a cost cutting measure. Currently their are 1.5 million incarcerated. There is a significant increase in the number participating in the BOP wellness program.
More needs to be learned about how individuals are able to change activity levels.
Increasing physical activity is a formidable public health challenge.
There is a critical role for the recreations in corrections. Occupying time and decreasing idleness are major contributions. It has long been recognized for its health contribution. Recreation should not exist in a vacuum. It should be integrated with health care, food services, nutrition, psychology, chaplin services, corrections and custody, and education.
The get tough on crime movement has attacked correctional luxuries. The public does not want to provide luxuries to those in prison. Recreation programs are in danger of reduction or removal.
We need to continue the programs by building bridges. Package the recreation programs with the value added concept. The contribution of the program toward long term cost containment is an example. There is now public health policy support.
People are our most important resource.
Thank You, Thank You, Thank You for the difference you make with the individuals, in the institutions, and in society.
We are looking at a major restructuring in health services. We (BOP) are among the top 10 most expensive systems in the country. Privatization is increasing. We need to be thinking outside the box.
Some inmates are getting into competitions about how many times they can walk around the track, or walking around the track faster.
Science has shown that smoking is bad for men and women. Second hand smoke also causes health risks. Cigarettes have been removed from several state prisons. He anticipates severely limiting cigarettes at the BOP soon. In Texas they can not smoke anywhere on the grounds. Minnesota, Los Angeles County, and Indiana are other places trying it. Someone in the audience mentioned Indiana had not had problems with the inmates (the staff had grumbled). He expects it to be implemented within the year at the federal level. Smoking areas might be provided.
Back to NCRA Page
Back to Strength Tech Home Page