Sport, Youth and Criminal Justice: An academic exploration of a Theory of Change

Morgan, Haydn ORCID: 0000-0002-1645-8599, Parker, Andrew ORCID: 0000-0001-6842-3067, Meek, Rosie, Coleman, Justin, Roberts, William M ORCID: 0000-0001-5736-5244 and Cryer, Jon (2018) Sport, Youth and Criminal Justice: An academic exploration of a Theory of Change. In: UK Sports Development Network 2018, 2-3 July, Hartpury, Gloucestershire. (Unpublished)

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Participation in sport is often positioned as a panacea for addressing social disharmony especially within the context of marginalised youth populations (Coalter, 2007; 2010). Amidst this discourse, sport has been promoted as a mechanism through which a multiplicity of social policy objectives can be achieved (Bloyce & Smith, 2010) including: the facilitation of citizenship (Parker et al., 2017), decreased unemployment (Henry, 2008), the development of more resilient communities (Misener & Doherty, 2012) and crime reduction (Nichols, 2007). Yet while political rhetoric has long since pointed towards sport’s transformative abilities, the basis for such claims is somewhat unproven, with critical commentators suggesting that presumption and implication, rather than ‘hard’ evidence, has informed this position (see Coalter, 2013; Dacombe, 2013). This aim of the present paper is to highlight one theory-based framework that has been devised by practitioners in recent years around the operationalisation and evaluation of sporting interventions in criminal justice settings. This framework has come to be adopted as the dominant ‘theory of change’ across sport and criminal justice debates in the UK both by practitioner groups and government representatives but has, as yet, evaded in-depth academic scrutiny. The paper provides insight into how the theory of change was conceived and how it has evolved over time highlighting not only how its adoption has impacted the design, delivery and evaluation of related interventions but how policy discussions have been (and continue to be) shaped by the narrative around which it is structured.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: Abstract only
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sport; Criminal justice
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV557 Sports
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Health, Life Sciences, Sport and Wellbeing
Depositing User: Will Roberts
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2018 15:42
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 09:08

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