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SPPF project symposium in a nutshell – YouTube

At the end of last year, we concluded our 3-year Erasmus+ project “Sports in Prison. A plan for the Future” with a European Symposium.  Thanks to all our partners !
💡The symposium in a nutshell
☑️ The final event of the European partner project “Sports in Prison. A Plan for the Future “. (SPPF)
☑️ Presentation of results to an international audience
☑️ Keynote speakers: Dr. Hayden Morgan (University of Bath, United Kingdom) and Prof. Dr. Tom Daems (LINC-KULeuven)
☑️ interactive seminars
☑️ Closing debate with participation of Yves Lelosteque (Head of EACEA – EC), Bob van den Broeck (AG Justice and Criminal Enforcement); Liesbeth Vandecasteele (FOD Justice – Director OCCP) (Belgian Prison Service), Marie-Anne de Groot (Branch manager PI Veenhuizen, NL); Marjolein van Poppel (Sport Vlaanderen)
Marc Theeboom (VUB/moderator).
The speakers gave excellent insight into different contexts, challenges and how to build bridges between the “inner and outer” part of the prison world.


Sports in Prison, a Plan for the Future’ is an Erasmus + project that focuses on the development of good sports programmes with a stronger connection between the ‘outside world’ and the world inside the prison walls.

The past three years, our collaborative partnership has been working hard to better understand sports programs in prisons, and in particular how these programs can contribute to social integration.

During the symposium the results of the SPPF project will be presented to an international audience. The results include the research publications, as well as the development, testing and implementation of the learning areas and the evaluation thereof. In addition, time will be made to present the Guide for practitioners and the policy recommendations.

The symposium will integrate interactive methods to provide information to the participants, and actively involve them to hear their perspective about the project results.

The speakers will communicate in English and Dutch. Translation will be available.


09:00 – 9u30    Registration / welcome coffee
9u30 – 10:00    OPENINGS SESSION

      • Video testimony
      • Welcome – Gunter Gehre (President of De Rode Antraciet vzw)
      • ‘Sports in Prison. A plan for the Future.’ Introduction.  – Bloeme van Roemburg (supervisor SPPF project / De Rode Antraciet vzw)
      • Video testimony

10:00 – 11:00   KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

      • ‘Beyond instrumentalism: prisons and sport in contemporary Europe.’  – Tom Daems (LINC – KULeuven)
      • ‘Key mechanisms in effective sport and criminal justice projects.’ – Haydn Morgan (University of Bath, UK)
      • Q&A

11:05 – 11:20   Coffee break

      • Video testimony

11:25 – 12:30   PRESENTATION OF THE SPPF PROJECT RESULTSState of play in prisons across Europe: Identification of sport-based activities. – Marc Theeboom (VUB)

      • Building bridges through sport. A Guide for practitioners. – Camilla di Concini (UISP, IT)

12:30 – 13:30   Lunch break

      • Video testimony

13:35 – 14:25   PRESENTATION ‘LEARNING AREAS’ by the SPPF partners

14:30 – 15:15   INTERACTIVE WORKSHOP: POLICY RECOMMENDATIONSHebe Schaillée (VUB/moderator)

15:15 – 15:30   Coffee break

      • Video testimony

15:35 – 16:30   PANEL DEBATE with:

Bob Van den Broeck (AG Justice and Enforcement Agency)
Liesbeth Vandecasteele (FOD Justitie –  Director OCCP)
Marie-Anne de Groot (Branch manager PI Veenhuizen, NL)
Marjolein van Poppel (Sport Vlaanderen)
Marc Theeboom (VUB/moderator)

16:30 – 16:45   CLOSING WORDYves Le Lostecque (Head of Unit EACEA – EC)
16:45 – 17:30   Reception


TOM DAEMS is Professor of Criminology at the Leuven Institute of Criminology (LINC), Faculty of Law & Criminology, KU Leuven.  He has been a visiting scholar at the universities of Edinburgh (2009) and Nottingham (2010) as well as at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) (2014 and 2018).  During his sabbatical leave (2022) he visited Buenos Aires, Santa Fe and Berkeley. At LINC Tom Daems is the coordinator of research line 8 on “Punishment and Control” which aims to foster in particular research in the field of (comparative and European) penology and prison studies.   Tom Daems studied (European) criminology and political science at KU Leuven and LSE. Over the years he has developed a particular interest in sociological, legal and normative questions related to punishment. Part of his Ph.D.-thesis was published as Making Sense of Penal Change in the Clarendon Studies in Criminology-Series (Oxford University Press, 2008). His other academic books include: Body Searches and Imprisonment (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023), Criminology and Democratic Politics (Routledge, 2021) (with Stefaan Pleysier), Electronic Monitoring: Tagging Offenders in a Culture of Surveillance (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020), Privatising Punishment in Europe? (Routledge, 2018) (with Tom Vander Beken), Europe in Prisons (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) (with Luc Robert), Outside Criminology: Selected Essays by Stanley Cohen (Routledge, 2016) and European Penology? (2013, Hart Publishing) (with Dirk van Zyl Smit & Sonja Snacken). A selection of opinion articles and pieces for a wider audience (in Dutch) was recently published as Misdaad & straf in onrustige tijden (Borgerhoff & Lamberigts, 2022).   For more information about his bio and work, see
HAYDN MORGAN is Associate Professor in Sport Management, University of Bath, UK.   Haydn’s research is principally concerned with the connection between participation in sport and the enhancement of social inclusion within marginalised populations. More specifically, he seeks to explore how engagement with sport and physical activity may prevent or divert engagement with the criminal justice system; facilitate access into education, employment, and training; develop citizenship qualities; or enable young people to accumulate and enhance various forms of capital which are vital to their sense of inclusion and well-being. This has evolved to examine how sport-based interventions are managed and evaluated, and how the neoliberal political economy impacts on the sport-for-development sector more broadly. As well as publishing in numerous academic journals, Haydn acts in an advisory capacity with several industry organisations including the Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice and the Sport for Development Coalition. Haydn is also the co-editor (with Professor Andrew Parker) of a new book entitled ‘Sport, Physical Activity, and Criminal Justice: Politics, Policy, and Practice’.
MARIE-ANNE DE GROOT, Master of Public Administration, has been branch manager of Penitentiary Institution (PI) Veenhuizen since 2015. Previously, she was director at Groot Bankenbosch in Veenhuizen, De Grittenborgh in Hoogeveen and at PI Leeuwarden, among others. Marie-Anne is socially active as a member of the Supervisory Board of care and welfare organization Maeykehiem.
LIESBETH VANDECASTEELE  became fascinated by detention when she did her internship in Ghent prison for her criminological sciences studies. She also submitted a master’s thesis that dealt with the system of Order, Discipline and Security in prison in the perspective of the Basic Law. She succeeded and chose a Master after Master (Master in Management of Public Organizations) and again a theme ‘behind the walls’ (i.e. how does a strategic plan translate within a prison).  After her university studies, she could start working as an attaché within the penitentiary center for basic training (at that time still PCBO, but later renamed to training center for penitentiary staff, or OCPP for short) in Bruges. The training center in Bruges is located inside the Bruges prison. 5 years later she traded training for the real work on the first and 2nd floor of the Penitentiary Complex in Bruges: being regimental director. She worked 5 years as regimental director in the department for the short (up to 5 years) and accused men and almost 3 years in the department for the long-sentenced men. For several years she was co-responsible within the management team Bruges for the cooperation and realizations of the Flemish Community. From that role she also got to know the value of sports within detention (a.o. project Ronde van Vlaanderen op Rollen, Summer Games PCB…).
At the end of 2020, she was asked if she wanted to return to training: there were a number of interesting changes in the pipeline (arrival of detention supervisors and security assistants, cooperation with secondary education…) and she changed seats again.
For your information: To the starting guard personnel she gives, among other things, training on living climate. The lesson is based on Miranda Boone’s study in which she proposes, among other things, 6 factors that determine the living climate within detention. Physical well-being and (meaningful) daytime activities/personal development are two of these factors. Sports are related to these factors in several ways.
BOB VAN DEN BROECK (°1971) studied law and international and European law at the universities of Antwerp, Uppsala and Brussels. Over the past quarter century, he has worked in various places. Among others at the University of Antwerp, where he was assistant to professors Jan Velaers and Herman Van Goethem. Together with professors Stefan Sottiaux and Jogchum Vrielink, he later founded a university center for discrimination law. His interest in the integration debate led to a book together with professor Marie-Claire Foblets and to the integration service of the city of Antwerp. During that quarter century, he also worked at various cabinets, serving as chief of cabinet to Zuhal Demir both in the Federal and Flemish governments. In the meantime, he worked for the Flemish Integration and Integration Agency, including for a time as acting general director. Since January 10, 2022, he has been Administrator General of the Flemish Justice and Enforcement Agency. In addition, he is Government Commissioner at Vito.
MARJOLEIN VAN POPPEL is policy officer at Sport Vlaanderen, the sports agency of the Flemish government. Within the service ‘KICS’ (Knowledge and Information Center for Sport) she focuses on the broad theme ‘inclusive sports policy’ which includes sports in prisons. Furthermore, she also follows up matters concerning ‘ethical sports policy’. Before joining Sport Vlaanderen, she worked for 15 years for the Netwerk Lokaal Sportbeleid where she worked on the social impact of sport.
YVES LE LOSTECQUE  is currently Head of Erasmus Mundus & Sport Unit EACEA – European Education and Culture Executive Agency European Commission. He studied public, international and European law at the University of Rennes. He started his career in the French national Ministry responsible for Youth and Sport. He joined the Commission in 1993, where he worked as a lawyer in DG Internal market. He was then responsible for inter-institutional issues in DG Education and Culture and served as the assistant of two directors general, Odile Quintin and Jan Truszczyński. He also spent two years as a member of the cabinet of the Romanian Commissioner, Leonard Orban.


Bloeme van Roemburg (coordinator), Gino Campenaerts, Nele Vanderstraeten – De Rode Antraciet vzw (Belgium)
Marc Theeboom, Hebe Schaillée, Inge Derom – Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB/Belgium).
Camilla de Concini, Daniela Conti – Unione Italiana Sport Per tutti (UISP APS/Italy).
Maja Karamarko, Lucija Živković, Anamarija Tadić – Udruga za kreativni socijalni rad (UKSR/ Croatia).
Emilia Crushcov, Nikoleta Yaneva – Sdrujenie Obedineni profesionalisti za ustoichivo razvitie (UPSDA/Bulgaria).
Gerko Brink, Bert Koops – Dienst Justitiële Inrichtingen (DJI/ Netherlands).