Mountjoy Prison has its own frisbee team and it’s hoped that it will help prisoners integrate better when they return to their communities.

Over a thousand people play the sport in Ireland now and it’s growing in popularity.

Bohemian F.C. joined forces with Social Sports Dublin to start the frisbee team in Mountjoy prison so that inmates could have a positive pastime behind bars.

Newstalk‘s Harry McKean joined Moncrieff to discuss his visit to Mountjoy prison and what he learned from the prisoners there.

“I didn’t feel at all like I was in the Sopranos … it was far friendlier than that”, he said.

“There was no howling.”

He said that the prisoners were “smiling” in the “spotless” prison.

Mr McKeane was playing with the Progression Unit, which is for “well-behaved” prisoners – “the ones who were drug-free”.

‘Something positive’

Donnacha Walsh, assistant governor of Mountjoy prison, said that the game is “something different” and “something positive” for the prisoners to be involved in.

“I thought frisbee was a summer sport played on a beach, but in fact it’s actually a competitive game.”

It is hopes that their positive experience with the non-contact sport will benefit them when they leave prison too, by helping them integrate back into the community.

“Guys here want to make a change and we’re here to support that change”, Mr Walsh said.

“But it’s up to the communities to welcome them back.”

‘Normal things’

One prisoner told Mr McKeane of his experience behind bars with the sport.

“All these activities make you feel less like you’re in jail and [more] like you’re doing normal things that will help you when you reassociate yourself with society”, he said.

“It’s an hour where you can forget you’re in jail and just do something you enjoy and relax.”

He plans to join a frisbee team in Clontarf when he is released in a few months.

“It will be nice to have connections when you get out to make friends”, he explained.

Listen back to the full conversation here.