This article outlines the function performed by sports activity towards the recluse, which consists in providing a valid opportunity for evasion, aggregation and an alternative to the idle attitude, as well as transmitting fundamental values for the personal growth process, including: fair play, respect for the rules, the participation of everyone in a common goal, teamwork, acceptance of limits and loyalty to the adversary. Hence the social importance of practicing sports in prison. A prodromal examination of the sense of punishment between a security paradigm and a treatment paradigm opens up the analysis of the sense of practicing physical activity in prison. From a brief description of the main international literature in context, it will then go on to outline the case studies of some social projects conducted in Ita-lian prisons, as an example of good practices in the sector. In conclusion, it is specified how it should always be remembered that this activity must not and cannot be left to the voluntary and sometimes improvised individual initiative, but must become an organic project of developing the sense of autonomy and independence of the detained person, in view of his return to society and his truly effective social and work reintegration. Only in this way the prison institution can become the place where prevention strategies can offer the possibility to prevent the prisoner, once released, return to his community with even greater problems than those who lived before entering the institute, with all possible consequential damages in terms of recidivism and social security.
Keywords: Prison; physical activities; sport; social control; relapse.