Thrive Inside

What is this service?


Thrive Inside is a weekly meditation and mindfulness prison group. It is a safe space for residents to address trauma, build resilience and develop transferable coping mechanisms for life. It is aimed at helping residents learn how to live with their sentence, rather than fighting against it.

  • For Residents serving 12 months sentences or over

  • Mindfulness Practice at a higher level

  • Providing a safe and open space for discussion

  • Deliver tools to reflect on the causes of the anxiety in a long- term sentence

  • Learning how to live with the sentence, rather than fighting it

  • Addresses Trauma

  • Provides coping mechanisms

Who is it for?


The group is designed for residents who are serving a sentence of 12 months or longer. Sex Offenders are not eligible at present due to lack of funding and risk assessment of running a mixed group. The group runs in HMP Lewes and HMP Rochester, and is delivered by iRest teacher Paul Collins.

  • Any Resident that is serving more than a year

  • Sex Offenders are not eligible at present due to lack of funding and risk assessment of running a mixed group

What does it deliver?


Thrive Inside delivers a specific type of mindfulness practice called iRest. This stands for Integrative Restoration, a meditative practice designed to help users cope with trauma, stress, and everyday living. Thrive Inside is a 10 week course, with each week centred around a mindfulness theme or topic. It creates a positive space for discussion, and equips residents with tools and knowledge about how to deal with difficult emotions and memories. In a prison setting, iRest provides peer support and a place to openly discuss and face vulnerabilities without fearing judgement. Group attendees are also given a Thrive Inside workbook which they can complete at their own pace and use to practice iRest in-cell as well as post-release.

  • Delivers tools to deal with stress/anxiety/Trauma

  • A toolbar for life and understanding themselves

  • Creates a knowledge of how to deal with difficult feelings, emotions, memories

  • Creates a safe space to be open and talk

  • Creates a safe personal space

  • Reduces self-harm – Suicide – violent

  • Creates a tool bar to be able to move from negative reaction to thinking and avoiding conflict

What are the prison needs?

  • Evidence – Comparison of behaviour changes pre/post group, attitudes, Less self-harming – Less violent – VKW’s to complete a journal on each resident attending

  • Outcomes – Consistency of engagement – reduction of negative behaviours – Increase in positive mental health – compassion

  • Evaluations – user feedback – More detailed forms to give more info -





What do they get?

  • A safe space to openly discuss and face vulnerabilities without fearing to appear weak

  • Peer Support

  • Someone to listen

  • Space to have a voice

  • Learning a skilled practise which they can pass on to other Residents

  • The ability to learn new ways of dealing with Trauma

  • Resilient on how to learn how to deal with a long Prison sentence

What is unique or special about this project?

  • This is a unique group that is not taught anywhere else

  • Learn transferable skills

  • Specific type of meditation, tailored to serious Trauma/PTSD

  • Learn how to let the anger in and find tools to work with it

  • Higher ratio of volunteers to Residents to ensure 1-2-1 support

  • Provides a continued support net work that can follow to open prisons, TTG and PTC

  • Encourages engagement and peer support

  • Books to use in-cell which supports the practise learnt in group

  • Personal Practise/Development

What are the Prisons needs?

  • Evidence – attendance numbers – reduction is negative behaviour/ increased positive behaviour recorded on CNOMIS – Case Studies

  • Outcomes - Better interaction with Peers and Staff – reduction in self-harming/Suicide/Violent Suggestions

  • More case studies – User feedback needs better, clearer questions





How does the project change lives?

  • Meditation skills that can be used in-cell

  • Improves self-esteem/Self-acceptance

  • Increase self-awareness through reflection

  • Ability to face past trauma

  • Recognition that healing is possible

  • Positive outlook

  • Learn coping mechanisms for dealing with Prison life

Does/can it reduce Reoffending?

  • Coping strategies replace negative behaviour

  • Reflects on the impact of crime

  • Learns that there are different choices

  • Peer support

  • Reduces violent, develops tools to deal with anger

  • Self-awareness/develops an understanding of conditioned behaviour and how change can happen

Does/can it reduce self-harm?

  • Gives Residents tools to deal with emotions, which can lead to an alternate to self-harm

  • Alternative output of frustration/coping strategies

  • Looks at trigger points

  • Flags concerns which have gone un-noticed

  • Tailored support when needed

Does/can it improve Society?

  • Can lead to Reduced Re-offending upon release

  • Can create safer communities

What does it contribute to the Prison?

  • Resilience for managing prison life

  • Reduces negative behaviour

  • Learn respect for peers

  • Peer support

  • Better relations between Residents and Staff

  • Reduces violent

  • Develop tools to deal with anger

What are the Prisons need?

  • Evidence – Self evidence – feedback – attendance numbers

  • Outcomes – Staff/Residents feedback - Behavioural changes logged on CNOMIS– reduced incidents of self-harm –  completed questionnaires





  • Attendance and non-attendance and Reasons

  • Evaluations

  • Lamplight

  • Feedback

  • Engagement with other agencies

  • Link with TTG

  • Surveys, review questions to fit with outcomes

Case studies

  • Anecdotes

  • Good news stories from Officers

  • Self-refection from Residents


  • Behaviour changes on CNOMIS

  • Less ACCTs

  • Feedback from Key Workers

Performance Indicators


  • Attendance and non-attendance

  • Impact in behaviour

  • Engagement in discussion in group

  • Motivation and Attitude

  • RJ referrals 

  • Engagement with other agencies


  • Feedback from key workers/Wing Officers/Probation

  • More options to continue with the group after the 8 weeks

  • Correlation between the other services and the impact these have on success rates