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In 2015, AP foundation alongside the Reformed Foundation designed an inspirational mentorship scheme called One Postcode. One Postcode was was developed from within HMP Belmarsh with the full backing of the Safer Custody Governor. The course was aimed at tackling gang violence and reprisals, predominantly by groups of 19-25 year-old men in the prison.

A team of volunteer mentors were chosen who had first-hand experience of gangs and life in prison. The said mentors were then trained in mediation and conflict resolution as well as gang involvement, peer pressure, taking personal responsibility, self-esteem, building relationships, victim awareness, anger management, stereotyping in addition to mindsets.

Since the one postcode initiative was introduced to H.M.P Belmarsh in the autumn of 2016. The statistics have shown that the training program has been extremely successful in helping to resolve conflict situations through orchestrated mediation.

Assaults at HMP Belmarsh have dropped considerably and 86% of the negotiated treaties between feuding inmates have been maintained thus allowing for them to be taken off the conflict list, which means:

  • Prisoners having fuller access to activities
  • Increased staff resources as prisoners are no longer escorted around the establishment
  • Safer environment for those working, living and visiting the establishment
  • A genuine feeling of hope that conflicts can be resolved without violence.
  • A sense of achievement from those involved
  • Interest from other prisoners wanting to become involved

Following the initial year of operation a review was completed by an independent forensic psychologist (Fiona Walker) on behalf of the Deputy Director of Custody (DDC) High Security Prisons entitled: “A Preliminary Evaluation of the impact of the One Postcode Prisoner Mentorship Scheme”. The success of the project was quantified with as much accuracy as possible, and in December 2017 the study was published. (Anthony Travers, Head of Safer Prisons)

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