The purpose of the grant is to improve the outcomes from the discrimination complaints system in prisons
The Zahid Mubarek Trust’s mission is to be the legacy for change in the prison system, ensuring racial justice and fairness, and supporting the rehabilitation and (re)integration of prisoners.
Currently, the External Scrutiny and Support Project (ESS) Project consists of seven interconnected yet independent workstreams. It is looking to develop a new workstream addressing the lack of confidence in the discrimination complaints system amongst young adult ethnic minority prisoners. The discrimination complaints (DIRF) system is crucial in addressing racial disparity in prisons by providing a safe space to report systemic and interpersonal racial discrimination. Since its inception, ZMT have been championing a more effective and efficient DIRF system by contributing to national policy development and local practice change.
The proposed work will consist of three main activities:
1) ZMT will establish a pilot initiative of a prisoner-led scrutiny panel in prisons with young adult prisoners from ethnic minority groups. The young adult panel members will be trained in the current national policy on discrimination complaints in prisons and what a good investigating discrimination complaints system looks like, developed by the ZMT. The panel will scrutinise anonymised discrimination complaints and provide feedback to prison Governors and their peers to improve the local practice and build confidence in the system.
2) ZMT will produce a report measuring the impact of the prisoner-led panel, reviewing trust and confidence, enhanced legitimacy of the complaints system and improved wellbeing and overall outcomes for ethnic minority prisoners focussing on young adults. The report will also set out the model for effective participatory approaches with young adult ethnic minority prisoners.
3) ZMT will organise a roundtable with stakeholders, including operational and policy staff at HMPPS and MoJ, to share the findings and to promote a good practice participatory approach model across the prisons estate.
This work fits into HMPPS’ future priorities of promoting more peer-led initiatives in prisons as part of their future regime design work; The proposed project also contributes to addressing the findings from the recent HMIP thematic on the experiences of Black men and Black staff in prisons, highlighting the lack of confidence amongst Black prisoners in discrimination complaints.
Khatuna Tsintsadze, Co-director of ZMT, manages the External Scrutiny and Support Project and will oversee the delivery of discrimination complaints project. An external consultant will be contracted to develop the delivery plan, collate the research, produce the report, produce and delivery the communications plan. Day-to-day delivery of the project will be undertaken by the Regional Leads Shakeil Hemmings and Niyi Akinseye who will lead in setting up the young adult prisoner-led panels and facilitate this work.
The overarching aim for this project is its contribution to ZMT’s mission of improving the treatment of and outcomes for ethnic minority people in prison and in particularly young adults. The impact ZMT aim for is an improved evidence base to support work seeking to improve trust and confidence in the discrimination complaints system amongst ethnic minority young adults. It will support stakeholders in designing local solution-based practical initiatives (i.e. prisoner-led scrutiny panels) and provide a voice and platform to ethnic minority young people to improve transparency and accountability around the discrimination complaints system in prison.
This is a new strand to its flagship programme in prisons, ZMT will continue to champion embedding the findings of the report in its future work. It will utilise several high-profile advisory groups and platforms it works with to promote the project and the good practice model of participatory approach with young ethnic minority adults in prisons.