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65 PRISONERS FROM THE BASQUE PENITENTIARY CENTERS PARTICIPATE IN THE RUGBY PROGRAM 'SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION AND SPORTS RE-EDUCATION'

2023 February 9
  • Sport, a tool for social transformation and personal growth with the transmission of values
  • Together with Getxo Rugby Taldea and Gaztedi Rugby Taldea teams
  • Eugenio Artetxe: "These are complementary activities to work, study, job training and treatment programs"

Vitoria-Gasteiz, 2023 02 09

A total of 15 prisoners in the ordinary life regime at the Bizkaia Penitentiary Centre and 50 from the Araba Penitentiary Centre, accompanied by teams of coaches and facilitators from the Getxo and Gaztedi clubs, participate in the Rugby programs such as social transformation and Re-education through sport with the aim that rugby is a tool for social transformation and personal growth, through the transmission of values.

According to Mr. Eugenio Artetxe, Justice Director of the Department of Equality, Justice and Social Policies of the Basque Government, "these activities are complementary to work, study, job training and treatment programs because, compared to leisure, the reality is that the majority of those who participate do so after their tasks and not as an alternative”.

The Bitartesport Association, in collaboration with Getxo Rugby Taldea and with the support of the Department of Equality, Justice and Social Policies of the Basque Government, develops the Rugby program as a social transformation at PC Bizkaia.

Since the creation of a space for relationships, interpersonal recognition and communication, weekly one-hour training sessions are carried out with the group of prisoners in the courtyard of the Centre,  where, through sports, games and the use of the ball, Social and relational values are worked on in a conscious way, while physical activity is carried out that reports personal well-being and a healthy habit, which helps to channel drives and stress.

Bitartesport is a non-profit Association that works with the purpose of mediating and promoting relations and connections between sport, social and community at different levels: promoting, promoting and developing inclusion and social transformation projects through sport; develop mediation in general, its pedagogy and dissemination, promoting for this the activities and projects of educators, creators and thinkers in any field of Community Development; and promote entrepreneurship that promotes social innovation, sports and community development in the territory through specific development programs.

Gaztedi Rugby Taldea team

For its part, Gaztedi Rugby Taldea, from Vitoria-Gasteiz, began the Re-education through sport project with rugby as its axis in September 2016. According to Mrs. Ainhoa Belakortu, the person in charge of the initiative, "the idea arose from the knowledge that, in prisons, especially in Latin America, similar projects were having great results."

“At first we worked with women and men separately. This has been somewhat at the request of the participating people. There have been moments in which women have asked to be able to do a mixed activity and others in which they have asked us to do it separately”.

As the project progressed, they managed to get an inmate who was with a more open regime to train with the Gaztedi Rugby Taldea senior men's team and, little by little, they gave him permission to play games on weekends. That is how he got a job and today he continues linked to sport and in contact with some people from the club, since he is not from Vitoria-Gasteiz.

Other people who released from PC Araba have maintained contact with the club, but due to their personal circumstances they have not been able to continue linked to the sport. One more achievement for Gaztedi, achieved before the pandemic, was the fact of going abroad to carry out a training session or match with all the people that make it up. Currently, after three years without this action due to the restrictions caused by Covid-19, Belakortu estimates that "the group we have must be established to resume this idea."

After the pandemic, in September 2022, Gaztedi Rugby Taldea reactivated this activity with a great reception. Today there are 50 people signed up for the activity, which has a participation of 40 of them. According to the person in charge, “there are people waiting to be able to enter. The truth is that the reception we have had has always been very good, which has allowed us to continue working with all the internal people and we hope that in the near future we can do something outside”.

 

One comment
  • Photo SN Robot
    @Bilbao_Tour
    2023 February 9

    Comentario de Twitter:
    Seguro que va bien. Gran iniciativa!! #Rugby #Formación
    https://t.co/AtA6iEgXJO

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Politicians attending the event
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  • Xabier Armentia, Ainhoa Belakortu