My Personal Journey
On 18th November 2013 I was arrested by a team of officers from the Metropolitan Police Serious Crime Directorate (SCD 07) for possession with intent to supply class A drugs and money laundering offences. Following two Crown Court trials I was eventually found guilty and in consequence initially sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment. In addition to this I also received a substantial Proceeds of Crime Order, which if left unpaid would have led to an extra ten year sentence being imposed upon me. Whilst in prison I was further charged with a historic offence of Perverting the Course of Public Justice relating to a case that I had been previously indicted upon and stood trial. On that occasion it was alleged I’d been knowingly concerned in the importation of half a metric ton of cocaine which I was acquitted of in 2006. Either by accident or design my journey in life over the past three decades saw me allegedly rise to the top of a Organized Crime Group (OCG).
Prior to my arrest of 2013 I had spent the previous 27 years working in the music industry as a successful festival and concert promoter. In 2008 I incorporated Reform Productions a British cinematic filmmaking company. By 2013 the Reformed Hub was opened as a multi-media complex housing one of the largest purpose built green screen film studios in the country. The premises also hosted a Caribbean restaurant and music rehearsal rooms. The idea behind this concept was to offer high quality industry services and training to people within the local community.
Although I managed to carve-out what could only be described as an accomplished career by any standard within the entertainment industry, it still doesn’t take away from the fact that I got involved in drug trafficking, when perhaps I should have instead been aspiring to become a positive role model and peer mentor by steering young people’ away from that kind of lifestyle.
Early into serving my sentence at H.M.P Belmarsh I could not help but notice the numerous amounts of violent acts that the prison staff had to deal with on a daily basis. Many of which seemed to be the result of continuous fights occurring between the younger population of prisoners. Notably the vast majority of these inmates were aged between 17 to 26 and affiliated to postcode gangs on the outside.
Understandably, during this time almost all the other inmates were growing tired of constantly being locked up in their cells 23 hours a day. Additionally the prison officers were also becoming frustrated at seeing their colleagues injured in consequence of trying to break up these violent altercations.
Through growing up and living in the borough of Hackney and Stoke Newington to seeing the children of close friends and relatives join postcode gangs, where in some cases they’ve sustained life threatening injuries or even lost their lives, coupled with having travelled to some of the most underprivileged districts of Jamaica and witnessing the devastating effects of violent political gang culture, I along with a fellow inmate felt compelled to try and do something about this growing problem.
As a listener I decided to propose an idea to Governor Clark at the monthly Safer Custody meeting. The first suggestion was to allow us to find a small group of prominent inmates that were respected amongst other inmates as well as trusted by security and senior members of staff; then convince those inmates to initiate a pilot intervention program called “Crossroads” that would be taught to them by its author David Frederick who is an ex-offender himself.
The second suggestion was to allow these same responsible inmates to act as mediators in conflict situations between rival postcode gang members. Thirdly a carrot and stick approach was then to be introduced as an incentive for those who’d signed up to the One Postcode compact.
Through structuring a strong alliance with Peacocks Gym regular sports activities and events would be hosted at the prison to reward good behavior and equally boost morale. Thereafter in order to keep continuity, monthly One Postcode meetings were arranged and commenced on 16th July 2015.
Over the following 14 months a framework was established and a team of potential mentors carefully selected, also consideration was given for a support mechanism to be put into place alongside the necessary provisions to allow for the training of these mentors by experienced outside parties coming into the prison.
In addition it was also agreed upon that Film and Music workshops could be brought into the establishment to teach some of the One Postcode participants a variety of new transferable skills within those industries and assist in making promotional prison awareness videos for Listeners, One Postcode etc. Regrettably this last stage was not implemented due to a lack of resources.
Throughout my incarceration the one question that I continuously posed to all my offender supervisors was what courses were available to lower my risk level and every time I met with the same answer, that there were no courses currently in the system that address drug trafficking. Therefore after serving nearly five and a half years in prison and traveling through numerous categories A,B,C and D, Prison Establishments I felt that it was necessary to create a program myself that could specifically tackle the issues of what potentially trigger individuals to traffic drugs, given my personal journey.
Although I left school early without gaining any academic qualifications I honestly felt the only three references required for me to create my next program were the comments made in my initial detention log, Judges sentencing remarks and Category- A-Profile card:
“Pritchard is a highly prominent notorious criminal” (Serious Crime Directorate)
“Pritchard had a leading role and was a smuggler, who was prepared to corrupt others to achieve his aim” (Judge Katz QC)
“In the early ninety’s Pritchard was responsible for organizing illegal warehouse parties that were attended by thousands of people and fuelled by Ecstasy tablets” (HMP-High Security Establishments).
“The same boiling water that hardens the egg softens the potato; it’s not about what your made of it’s about the circumstances you’re put in, proof anyone can change”