The role of the occupational therapist in prison rehabilitation program: systematic review

  • Irene Tilenni Sapienza, University of Rome, Italy
  • Margherita Parente Sapienza, University of Rome, Italy
  • Anna Berardi Sapienza, University of Rome, Italy
  • Francescaroberta Panuccio Sapienza, University of Rome, Italy
  • Marco Tofani 2) Neurorehabilitation Unit, Department of Neurosciences and Neurorehabilitation, Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital, Via della Torre di Palidoro, 00054, Rome, Italy
  • Giovanni Galeoto Dipartimento Sanità pubblica e Malattie Infettive
Keywords: Bastille, Calaboose, Clink, Coop, Dungeon, Gaol, Imprisonment, Jail, Occupational Therapy, Prison.


Background. The binomial words rehabilitation-prison has been, for some years, at the centre of programs aimed to restore the occupational identity, to reintegrate prisoners into society and consequentially to reduce case of recurrence. The aim of this study was to gather all the studies internationally in which the role of the occupational therapist into prison is well understood to bring the same program in Italian prisons then

Methods. To carry out the study’s sample, 5 databases were used: Pubmed, OTseeker, Web of Science, Cinhal and Scopus.

Results. Only five studies were finally included.  Four were from USA and one from the same was very heterogeneous, there were a lot of young people, addicts and mental patients. Occupational therapist intervention was significant for the prisoners; it was observed an improvement in life skills, a commitment of activity proposed, an increased in self-esteem, the development of relationships, financial skills, occupational role and consequentially a reduction of recidivism.

Conclusions. As shown, the occupational therapist might be a real and advantageous role in the penitentiary institutions working with any sample and age.