Founder and CEO of 3 Pillars Project, Mike Crofts explains that his community interest company set up in 2015 uses Rugby in the Criminal Justice System in the United Kingdom to work with young men in prison, who have never played the sport. Mike says that the three elements of the course they offer consist of Exercise, Education and Ethos.
Mike served for eight years in the Royal Tank Regiment of the British Army as a Captain and from the mentoring and leadership training he received in the armed forces, he now uses Rugby as the vehicle to deliver this to the prisoners. Long-term and sustainable change on a young person’s life is what motivates Mike to run this project. Mike talks about his Rugby coaching background, with an RFU level 2 and how his passion for the sport was reinforced when he was in the Army.
Mike discusses why he uses Rugby, as opposed to other sports, to help with reforming the inmates. Even though Rugby is considered a violent sport in many circles, Mike believes it fits perfectly with prisoners who have had a violent past themselves. He highlights how Rugby can assist criminals understand and control their aggression, as well as learning self-discipline and self-respect that this team sport offers. Mike admits that prisons can be apprehensive to bring in new projects and courses, which is why he views it as a success that 3 Pillars Project is being used in a number of prisons after just two years.
Collaboration is essential for 3 Pillars Project to operate at is optimum and Mike says working with Rugby clubs benefits the prisoners with their rehabilitation immensely. Mike mentions the support they would graciously welcome from sponsors and businesses looking to help with the project.