Last fall, Lacey Mackenzie-Yraguen was given the opportunity to travel to Norway as a member of the Resource Team at Snake River Correctional Institution (SRCI). While touring the Norwegian prisons, she learned more about their philosophy around incarceration and their approach to humanization. Lacey is a mental health professional and found herself able to easily align to their beliefs, strategies, and approaches to adults in custody (AICs). Working with Amend in their Prison Culture Change Initiative, she found great value in their vision of creating and implementing public health-oriented correctional practices among the staff and AICs.
While in Norway, Lindsey was inspired by the Activities Team and pondered ways to incorporate something similar at SRCI. Behavioral Health Services (BHS), in partnership with Recreation Services, created the ‘Activities Gym’ for AICs on the mental health housing units. The activities gym takes place three days a week with a variety of activities offered.
The activities gym has encouraged AICs to leave their cells and units, engage in physical activity, and socialize with peers and staff members – thus, improving their overall health and wellness. Since beginning the gym, interest has grown from seven to over 30 participants.
Various sections around the institution have taken opportunities to use the gym ranging from BHS, security, correctional counselors, and recreation specialists.