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Researchers say offering prisoners yoga lessons could save taxpayers money in the long run

Yoga pose
Researchers say yoga may help to reduce mental health problems in prisons Credit: The Prison Phoenix Trust

Researchers from Oxford University say that offering yoga to prisoners can improve their moods and mental wellbeing, and may also have an effect on impulsive behaviour. The study was carried out in conjunction with the University of Surrey, Kings College London and a Dutch university.

The researchers found that inmates who had completed a ten-week course reported reduced stress levels and were better at a task related to behaviour control. The study was supported by the Oxford-based Prison Phoenix Trust which gives yoga classes in prisons. One hundred inmates took part.

Dr Amy Bilderbeck and Dr Miguel Farias, who led the study at the Departments of Experimental Psychology and Psychiatry at Oxford University said:

'The suggestion is that yoga is helpful for these prisoners. This was only a preliminary study, but nothing has been done like this before. Offering yoga sessions in prisons is cheap, much cheaper than other mental health interventions.

'If yoga has any effect on addressing mental health problems in prisons, it could save significant amounts of public money.'

Dr Bilderbeck added: 'We're not saying that organising a weekly yoga session in a prison is going to suddenly turn prisons into calm and serene places, stop all aggression and reduce reoffending rates. We're not saying that yoga will replace standard treatment of mental health conditions in prison.

'But what we do see are indications that this relatively cheap, simple option might have multiple benefits for prisoners' wellbeing and possibly aid in managing the burden of mental health problems in prisons.'


Man jailed for attempting to hack police and university websites

Lewys Stephen Martin Credit: Kent Police

A man from Kent has been jailed for two years after attempting to hack corporate websites, including those of Kent Police, Cambridge University and Oxford University.

Lewys Stephen Martin, 21, previously of Dover Road, Walmer, was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court today.

He was charged in November following a series of attempts to compromise websites. He pleaded guilty on April 12 to nine charges:

Five counts of unauthorised acts with intent to impair operation of or hinder access to a computer, two of unauthorised computer access with intent to commit other offences, one of unauthorised computer access with intent to commit other offences and one of unauthorised access to computer material.

The court heard that between January 29 and February 1, 2012, Martin attempted to cause disruption to both the Cambridge and Oxford Universities’ websites, by overwhelming them with requests for information. Martin had also tried to disrupt Oxford University’s website in March 2011.

There was no compromise or access to the websites but they were temporarily disrupted. On February 1 and 2, 2012, the Kent Police website suffered a sustained attack by Martin and was temporarily disrupted.

Det Const Nicky Holland-Day said: "Cyber attacks are a nuisance and cause aggravation as well as costs to countless private and public organisations up and down the country.

"Most websites have systems in place to prevent them being compromised, and none of those attacked in these instances suffered any more than a temporary disruption. However, those who try to carry out these attacks will be traced and brought before the courts."

More volcanic air disruption "certain"

by Mike Pearse, Transport Correspondent
Ash plume of the volcano Eyjafjoell, 120 km east of Iceland's capital Reykjavik, Iceland, on May 15, 2010 Credit: De Malglaive Etienne/ABACA/Press Association Images

Experts say it is just "a matter of time" before another volcano in Iceland erupts with the potential to cause major disruption to flights like in 2010. Then most services in Europe were grounded for a total of eight days causing misery to millions of people.

The problem is that when a volcano explodes it can send millions of ash particles into the air causing a cloud. If a plane flies into it engines can be badly affected and even stop.

So now Easyjet and Airbus are developing a system called AVOID that would better detect ash in the sky. Planes would be fitted with sensors that detect it and they would be directed around the ash by air controllers.

iew of the volcano from Reykjavik. Eyjafjoell is 120 km east of Iceland's capital, Iceland, on May 15, 2010 Credit: Etienne de Malglaive/ABACAPRESS.COM

Airlines say it is a much better alternative to the current system which is to ground flights over a wide area. The sensors feed back information from the system which is added to data from satellites.

The aim is to keep more planes flying and reduce the type of disruption in 2010.


Seventy years of Oxfam's history to go on display

Some of the archive material being donated to the Bodleian Libraries Credit: Kate Bunkall

Oxford-based international development charity Oxfam has announced it has donated the organization's archive, spanning the last seventy years, to the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries.

Now, with a substantial grant from the Wellcome Trust, a four-and-a-half-year project is underway at the Bodleian to catalogue Oxfam's extensive records and make them more accessible.

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