Prison-based health and wellbeing interventions: evidence review and survey of provision

This study is a rapid review of the effectiveness of health and wellbeing interventions in prisons, and presents findings from a survey of Scotland's prisons on the extent to which these interventions are active.


1. See the full list of effectiveness classifications in Annex B.

2. This report takes into account that some interventions were stopped, or their delivery interrupted due to Covid-19 and may not yet have resumed in Scotland's prisons.

3. It was acknowledged that the prison population had reduced as a result of the early release scheme and a drop in remand numbers due to Covid-19.

4. Understanding the Social Care Support Needs of Scotland's Prison Population

5. Search terms included: "intervention", "program*", "prison*", "criminal", "offender", "health", "well*", "art", "creative", "outdoor", "horticultural", "garden", "sport", "physical activity", "yoga", "meditation", "mindfulness", "animal", "dog" and "peer*".

6. Grey literature searches were conducted on: UK Ministry of Justice; Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service publication databases; the Scottish, Welsh, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland Government publication databases; National Institute of Justice (USA); Bureau of Justice statistics (USA); Australian Government publications; New Zealand Government publications; Youth Justice; Prison Reform Trust; Centre for Crime and Justice Studies; Penal Reform International; OpenGrey; British library EthOS; ISI Web of Knowledge, and Google Scholar.

7. All of the studies included in this evidence review are in Annex A.

8. See Annex B.

9. See Annex C.

10. Within this review, the interventions presented do not fall into the 'no effect' or 'negative effect/potentially harmful' categories. However, these have been included here to demonstrate the breadth categories used across decision making tools.

11. 'Poor' has been used for descriptive purposes only.

12. Diet and lifestyle interventions were included in the survey, however as no studies were identified in the evidence review they were not included in the analysis of the results.



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