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“I would just feel really relaxed and at peace”: findings from a pilot prison yoga program in Australia


Bartels, L and Oxman, LN and Hopkins, A, 'I would just feel really relaxed and at peace': findings from a pilot prison yoga program in Australia, International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 63, (15-16) pp. 2531-2549. ISSN 1552-6933 (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 The Authors

DOI: doi:10.1177/0306624X19854869


International research provides support for yoga as a well-being intervention in prison. No systematic research has been undertaken in Australia to assess the effectiveness of prison yoga programs. In 2017, the authors, in partnership with Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Corrective Services and the Yoga Foundation, introduced a weekly pilot yoga program at the ACT prison. This article presents quantitative and qualitative findings from the program. Although the small sample size (n = 8) is acknowledged, our findings indicate that participants attained statistically and clinically significant benefit from the program, demonstrated by improvements in their levels of depression, anxiety, self-esteem, goal-direction, negative affect, and non-acceptance. They also reported improved flexibility, sleep and relaxation, pain reduction, and identified improvements in their mental well-being, commenting that the program made them feel "calm" and "at peace." The article concludes by advocating for the expansion of such programs in Australian prisons and further research on such programs.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:yoga, prison, meditation, Australia, prisoner well-being
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Criminology
Research Field:Causes and prevention of crime
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Rehabilitation and correctional services
UTAS Author:Bartels, L (Ms Lorana Bartels)
ID Code:134043
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Law
Deposited On:2019-07-23
Last Modified:2020-08-21

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