In a world first for a remand centre, 47 officers and prisoners at Brisbane Women’s Correctional Centre (BWCC) took part in the inaugural Wacol parkrun today.
BWCC has become the 33rd correctional site in the world to host a parkrun, the ninth in Australia and the first in Queensland.
Queensland Corrective Services Deputy Commissioner (Custodial Operations) Andrew Beck said activities such as parkrun bring officers and prisoners together, creating a safer prison by building a sense of community whilst improving the health of the women at the centre.
“This is really important in terms of how we transform women’s lives and create safer communities. Our prisons are a form of community, and the stronger the community, the safer our prisons and officers are,” Deputy Commissioner Beck said.
QCS Assistant Commissioner (Women and Safer Custody) Tamara Bambrick said while the women would benefit from parkrun while in custody, it was something they could continue once released.
“parkrun educates prisoners about their health and wellbeing, and helps them develop healthy routines which assist with their success post release,” AC Bambrick said.
parkrun Australia’s Health and Wellbeing Lead Glen Turner said across Australia the link between parkrun events and health services in prisons was increasing.
“For many prisons that facilitate parkrun, these events provide a referral option for medical staff who signpost prisoners who can benefit from the fresh air, social connections and physical activity component of parkrun. This leads to a better relationship between officers and prisoners, and the prisoner group as a whole,” Mr Turner said.
West Moreton Health Public Health Physician, Dr Catherine Quagliotto, said implementation was a collaborative effort involving parkrun Australia, West Moreton Health, QCS and most importantly, the women in BWCC. Introducing parkrun into the centre was already showing results.
“Some of the women who are already talking about the physical health benefits of parkrun. For others, parkrun is helping with their anxiety and depression; it allows them to talk with and support each other,” Dr Quagliotto said.
“There are also invaluable flow-on effects such as a sense of empowerment and self-worth as well as community building.”
If you work in a correctional facility in Australia or New Zealand and would like to find out more about introducing parkrun please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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