Graduate Project


Finding a Reason to Run: Examining Women's Experiences with a Running Program at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility Public Deposited

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  • Bunk to 5K is a program designed to encourage and support new and experienced runners in custody at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility (CCCF). CCCF is the only women’s prison in Oregon, housing around 1,200 women at any given time, at all levels of custody (ODOC, 2020). The non-profit which runs Bunk to 5K, Reason to Run, has had over 800 runners go through the program since 2015. Although the majority of criminological research has focused on men, women have been shown to have unique needs, which need to be addressed through programming (Covington & Bloom, 2008; Van Gundy, 2014; Covington & Fedock, 2017). It is particularly important to find programs which improve the physical and mental health of incarcerated women due to their high rates of mental health disorders, substance abuse and trauma (Cowan, 2019; Ney, et. al. 2012; Sacks 2004). Physical activity programs are one such way to address women’s needs and have been shown to help incarcerated women increase their well-being and desist from future crime (Meek & Lewis, 2014). In this study, I evaluate the potential benefits of the Bunk to 5K program through a feminist framework, utilizing surveys (N=31) and feedback forms (N=524) from past participants. Bunk to 5K was shown to at least partially address the needs of incarcerated women by introducing them to a regular exercise routine and creating a supportive social environment. For this reason, I suggest more resources should be put into supporting exercise group programs within women’s prisons and for previously incarcerated women.
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