“The one silver lining in my prison journey has been the Zahid Mubarek Trust”

Niyi Akinseye

Niyi Akinseye is a Regional Project Lead at the Zahid Mubarek Trust, having won the Butler Trust Award for his 2023 ‘Together Against Racism’ Campaign, Niyi lives by the motto ‘Be The Change You Want To See’.

“The one silver lining in my prison journey has been the Zahid Mubarek Trust”

A narrative about equalities work is that it is not an integral part of reducing reoffending and improving the Prison Service.

Today at HMP Bedford Equalities Advocates graduation, we witnessed prisoners change that narrative, stating that completing the course has changed their life, given them a clear sense of purpose, empowered them with the belief they can become a respected member of society and become a respected voice for their community both when they are released.

Today, I was reminded of the reason I started working in prisons and that was the belief that we can create a better society for all. The ZMT’s advocacy course displayed today  that it has a central role to play in delivering this vision.

HMP Bedford Equalities advocate GRADUATION.

The Zahid Mubarek Trust equalities advocactes course aims to improve the treatment of ethnic minority prisoners through peer led support. Courses run for 14 weeks where prisoners are trained on how to become respected voices for their community, whilst also developing themselves as active citizens supporting staff prisoner relationships. At the end of the course, they are given the opportunity to share their reflections on the value of the course.

At HMP Bedford, one prisoner candidly admitted that they only applied for the course as ‘they wanted more time out of their cell’ and was proud to proclaim that completing the course has ‘changed their life… given them a sense of purpose… whilst also helping them develop skills for life and become a better person for society”

Other prisoners stated their confidence that the course has given them the belief that once they are released, the can positively serve their community and that the course has ‘become a better father son and man for others’.

Today, we were shown that equalities work is integral to reducing reoffending and that the Zahid Mubarek Trust Equalities Advocates course has a central role to play in helping to improve the prison service for both prisoners and staff. 

Here’s to many more graduations!