Since 2004 around 1,500 prisoners have been trained in the UK, namely in Les Nicolles State Prison in Guernsey, HM Prison Lindholme in Doncaster area, Highdowne Prison in Surrey and HMP Thameside in London.

•High Down Prison, Surrey. Over 9 years a total of around 850 offenders benefited from the more than 50 courses we delivered. The courses at Highdown were always oversubscribed, as they were known throughout the prison and the different prison departments referred their clients to the course. For every 20 places, there were at least 100 applicants.

•Guernsey – around 40 offenders trained between 2004 and 2006

•HMP Lindholme Doncaster

•HMP Doncaster  – around 70 offenders trained between 2003 and 2005

•HMP Thameside: Following up on the successful pilot project in 2013, HMP Thameside management procured 7 Prison SMART trainings for 2014 and 10 Prison SMART trainings for 2015.

UK and Denmark are the only countries in Europe where we also offer through the gate programs to strengthen the rehabilitation process of ex-offenders in the community with the Breathe SMART program:

Statistical Evaluation HMP Thameside: 22 courses, 219 questionnaires returned



First Prison SMART course: 2004

Number of Prison SMART trainings: 60+

Number of prisoners trained: 1,500 +

Number of staff trained: 12

Prisons where Prison SMART was held:

Les Nicolles State Prison in Guernsey

HM Prison Lindholme in Doncaster area

Highdowne Prison in Surrey

HMP Thameside

HMP Maghaberry in Northern Ireland

CONTACT: Dr. Katrien Hertog

[email protected]

+44 740 5638 795

Reducing Reoffending

While Prison SMART does not yet have hard data to prove its effectiveness in reducing reoffending (due to its own limited research capacity), it has collected significant empirical and proxy evidence of its potential to reduce reoffending:

The statistical evaluation above shows significant improvements with regard to factors contributing to reoffending (in line with positive criminology, positive psychology, the good lives model and desistance / resilience model – see below).

There is widespread empirical evidence worldwide of individual offenders who, upon completing Prison / Breathe SMART, have been able to turn their back on their previous life of drugs and crime. Some offenders have developed to become Prison / Breathe SMART trainers themselves.

Between 95-100% of participants in HMP Thameside state that this course will help them to avoid reoffending:

“If the person takes this course to heart, there is no need or point to reoffend. It is the best course I have done in prison without a doubt. I would say the only course I have completed that really has the power to change. I wish I had not wasted so much time. I wish I was stronger and had not been immersed in self-pity. I have been building up to this for about 10 years. It was the final push I needed and has given me the techniques I need to move forward and conquer, ie achieve all I know I am capable of achieving. This should be endorsed by the Governor and staff of any prison as well as the inmates. The sky is the limit if they all did this course. So rock on!”

“Before the course I was very upset with myself, the decisions I’ve made in the past. It was quite easy to push my buttons. This course helped me to release a lot of pain I had locked up inside and showed me how to love myself and be happy with who I am. If everything happens for a reason, this course was the reason I came to jail. I would recommend it to anyone, it helped me to forgive myself and others. Every body should give it a try. I hope it helps others the same way it helped me.”


“The most positive life changing thing I have ever done in my life in or out of prison.”

“If we continue doing what we learned in this course, I am sure no one from this group will come back to prison.”

“I learned that freedom comes from the inner self, not from being freed from prison.”

“This is the only program in the prison that we cannot manipulate.”

“In my whole prison career I have never done a course twice, but this one I will do again.”

“This course should be mandatory for anyone coming into prison.”

“This is the only program in my whole prison career that I am going to repeat.”

“I slept for the first time without waking up with flash backs. I have not had such a sleep since my childhood.”

“I felt like frustration of all those years has been building up and up, like glass above my head. And now it all shattered, fell down. It is just gone. Amazing…!”

“This is a very effective tool. It is the future of the prisons!”

– The training is regularly assessed as “the best training on offer in prison”, “the only training that really works”, “the only training I would do again”.

“I thought it was fantastic, something that should be available to everyone in the prison. Good tools to get inner peace and calm, clarity, positivity and focus. I think it would be great for you to come much more regular and spend time with more prisoners.”

“I thought the course was a real eye-opener, a life-changing experience to stay positive and clear headed. I felt my body go through a natural detox, my mind became clearer and less stressed, and my soul regenerated.”

“I found the course excellent, relaxing, it made me feel content, calm. I got more of an understanding of people and situations. I felt so much energy and got rid of any tensions I had. This course helps you be calm in volatile, challenging situations. This course is by far the best in prison. It makes me feel alive, really happy within myself, makes you feel so relaxed, enabled me to value things more.”

“The best thing I have ever done. Absolutely amazing! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this amazing experience. I already feel like a changed person and would recommend this to everyone.”

“It is excellent. I want and need more.  The course does what it says. I feel empowered to deal better with stress and depression and with daily life in prison. I came to the course skeptical as to what effect it could have. I am totally converted – it is SO powerful. It has definitely improved my life – hopefully dramatically. Thank you. The course is excellent and should be a permanent and more frequent, if not constant, fixture. Everyone should do it! “

“The best course I have done in or out of jail. It has lifted my depression and I am sleeping better, much more focused. It would be good for staff and young offenders to have a mandatory one day session.”

“This course is the best thing I have done in jail and helps me control my aggression and manage my anger. The practices and techniques help me control my aggression and lower my stress levels and make my mind and body more healthy.”

“I enjoyed the course very much as it allowed me to enhance my thinking and take more control over my life. It got life changing skills and a way to channel my energy. I would like to thank Katrien and Nicolai for sharing your gifts with me and I hope to use them again in the future.”

“This course is incredibly excellent and great in order to make you calm down in all aspects of life, and to control your anger, depression and stress. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to attend this course.”

“Excellent course. Glad I’ve done it. I got the method and skills to help me obtain inner peace and extinguish the demons within me.”

“The course helps with my concentration and relaxation. It allows me to think clearly and helps me understand and control my emotions. After each session it helps me to release stress and tension which may build up during one day. Breathing exercises help a lot when I go back to my cell. I think the course should run more often. It would help lots of people.”

“I got a complete change of behaviors from this course. It was very good. I loved it. The teachers were very good, nice people. And if we take this serious we will not go out and commit crimes.”

“I thought this course was so powerful. I got a lot of my self control back, I sleep again, control my anger, can relax. I loved the course.”

“I liked it very much. It is needed a lot more in all prisons. I got peace and tranquility. This course should automatically be a part of induction or mandatory for all young / violent offenders.”

“It was a mind blowing experience. I learned to use strategies to avoid stress and depression. The sessions were very good and especially the class teachers were very encouraging.”


“Before the course I was very upset with myself, the decisions I’ve made in the past. It was quite easy to push my buttons. This course helped me to release a lot of pain I had locked up inside and showed me how to love myself and be happy with who I am. If everything happens for a reason, this course was the reason I came to jail. I would recommend it to anyone, it helped me to forgive myself and others. Every body should give it a try. I hope it helps others the same way it helped me.”


“I never realised how much tension I had until I started this course. I was definitely very stressed and angry. It’s a better place now. It feels like a weight has been lifted and there is no more worries. This course has done wonders for me and I will take more from this course than any other. Just like to say thanks for giving me this chance. Thanks.”


“My state of mind before the course, I was stressed out, in so much regret, I just couldn’t forgive myself for been in prison, couldn’t stop thinking about the set back and what people will be thinking of me. I was heart- broken and felt like I wanted to die. I learnt all about the bullet points, how to forgive myself, how to be in control of my emotions, ego, and be aware of my entire environment. I also learnt how to breath out all the pain and stress. How to exercise and take all the pain and stress out. My state of mind after the course is freedom within me and been very aware of my emotions, ego, and been aware of everything. This course is very encouraging, education, I have learnt a lot that I didn’t know before. I have forgotten and forgiven myself about the past. I’m a happy man within. When I am anywhere I know how to control my ego, emotion, and be aware of everything around me. The teacher is very good, the process she uses to teach is very effective, encouraging and educating, it will be nice if all prisoners can get a chance to attend. Thank you for letting me in this course.”


“Before the course I did not know what to expect, and I was only there out of curiosity, which might sound silly. After the first session, I had an idea what the course was about, and my state of mind changed from curiosity to interest which enable me to achieve what I think is the whole reason of the course.

After the course, honestly speaking, not only did I know myself, but also how human stress, anger and unhappiness could be caused by ourselves, and also how we could be happy without the physical things we think will make us happy. Also learnt about some bullet points which I believe if put into practice, I will not only be a happy, but also a stronger and better person for myself and also express this to my loved ones and people closer to me. And believe me or not I will recommend this course to my family and still continue on the outside. The tutor was good and you have filled a big gap in my life and will always be remembered in every stage of life. And I wish you and family the best in all your life endeavour.”


“Before I came to the Prison SMART Programme I was unhappy, angry, stress and allways down. I didn’t relly talk to any one and all thinking about home. I was always mad at every one. Now I’m not angry No more. I don’t get upset when people say things to me. I just get on whit what I’m doing. I still think about home but only good things. I have also started to talk to more people. I feel more relaxed, calm it also help me to mix whit people around me. I think this Prison SMART Programme is very helpfull and it can help a lot of people. It need to be done more, it’s very relaxing and calming. It also help you to mix whit other people and help you to open up. I relly like doing this course it has help me a lot. Thank you for having me in the Prison SMART Programme.”


“Before the course I was struggling to sleep due to thoughts and worries. I would bottle my feelings up, I would always worry about what, why and when I feared my future and what would happen. I’ve recently split with my girlfriend and lost all contact with my family as I’m from the north of England. My state of mind is now well. I’ll live in the now. What will happen will happen. The techniques we have learned help me relax and sleep. My well being is better. I feel I can handle any stressful situation that may arise and have a better understanding how the mind works. I enjoyed taking part in the course. It was nice to let myself go. It is surprising what you can achieve through the power of the breaths. It was nice to sample yoga and learn the stretches. It’s helped ease a troubled back. I’d definitely recommend this course. I’d say every prisoner would benefit taking part. I myself will be looking forward to firstly our refresher class and also taking up The Art of Living on my release from prison. Thank you so much, you’ve helped so much. What you do is a blessing to all who take part in your class.”


“My state of mind before the course was very unrelaxed, stressed and always I was aggravated with people and family ect. My state of mind now after the course is relaxed, I can laugh and walk away from an argument, I’m more easy going around people.”


“Before I come to the course I had a lot of stresses. I had just been found guilty and I’m here for a crime I didn’t commit. Since being at the course I’ve managed to focus on life ahead of me and how to control my stresses and anger. I have really enjoyed all parts of the course and I’ve learned a lot and will continue to practice. Also I’m being sentenced so I will be practising how I can deal with the pressure of a long sentence and look for my inner self. Thank you for helping me.”


“I came to this course not knowing what to expect – just that it was a stress Management course. Sitting down – I was told by a little lady to have an open mind and allow myself to be taken on a journey. I duely obliged and what was to follow in the next few days was most enlightening. By the last day of the course I strongly felt completely purified and cleansed, total well being and an almost super human energy and strength which made me feel I could do anything and everything I put myself to. Even though my personal philosophy was fundamentally in line with what the course revealed to be about, I was completely engrossed in it and went through complex emotions. I particularly enjoyed the movements (stretches) which did a whole lot of good to my flexibility and balance bearing in mind I was carrying a stiffness in my whole body from operations I had done to my hips a couple of years ago, I felt lighter, more agile and younger. Most Importantly I found ME and I got HOME. Without a doubt, I will strongly recommend this course to not just persons but to all human kind.”


“Before I had started this course I had only been in prison for a month so my state of mind was very scattered, as you can understand the stress which is causing me as well as my family, and I am a father of three kids. So not only I’m stressed for myself but for my family as well. I don’t know how to channel my thoughts or what to think about to make my stress and frustration levels minimal. I would not want to eat, drink or conversate and apart from my wife and kids keeping me strong I needed hands on help at the times problems would arise. This course has helped me come to terms with my situation at present and being in prison, but not only my prison state of mind but for how I handle life in general outside. Every day brings different struggles now I have found out how I can understand people more and their reactions as well as my own and how to handle them. This has been one of the best experiences I have ever had and it made me at peace with my spirit and accept my present situation. I have met and spoken to people who I have never seen before and are also in the same position as me as everybody has ups and downs I don’t feel alone. I now don’t really think about the past anymore and now I can deal with what’s going on now and it has made me a better person mentally and physically and I’m confident I can persue my life inside as well as when I get outside. P.S. I would recommend this course to any and everybody who has difficulty dealing with the world and the people in it. I also give thanks to my teacher who saw me through this intensive course.”


“I found when I started the course, my head was everyway. Scrambled as a matter of fact. With the breathing tecs I found it helped me to get on with things and look at things in a different light and I thank you for that very much. I also found that instead of bottling up all the time and just to release all the hurt and worry in me and I thank you for that again, and I will use all of the tecs. that you have teached me whilst in prison and I will use it on my girlfriend when I am out, because she is finding it hard with me in here but I will use it in a fun way and all so to relax to and found it very enjoyable to meeting different people and not to be ashamed of what people think. Because if people think of what you are doing and laugh, well they are weak too. Thank you for having me on your course. I have enjoyed it very much.”


“I really enjoyed the 7 days course and have seen lots of changes. I learned breathing techniques, stretching and got more confidence. I would come back to do this course again. I really enjoyed the course so so much. Whether I reoffend is up to me. I wouldn’t want to reoffend so therefore I will stay positive and focus much more on my goals in life and on bringing up my daughter as I have that responsibility. Thank you so much for taking me on this course. Thank you both!”

“It was very powerful and I learnt techniques I could use daily to help me with stress etc. I also understood myself better. ”

“I found the course very interesting and after the first day I found myself wanting more. What I got from the course is self control and a calmness that I haven’t had in years. I thank you both for giving me this chance to do something so powerful. I have enjoyed this course. Thanks.”

“It was amazing for me, because I removed the stress from my mind and body. I feel more OK! Thanks for accepting me on this course! Before I started the course I felt pins and needles in my head. I think because of stress. Now I am happy after 7 sessions of Prison SMART course I don’t feel it anymore! I am happy! Thanks for it!”

“I liked the course very much, so much that I will continue doing the exercises. I learnt how to control my emotions by my breathing and I am able to distress myself. I think we need follow up sessions. If you ever need mentors, I would love to be one. Thank you for the techniques that can help change my life.”

“Am so happy. Liked the course very well. I learnt to relax. Give myself time. Breathing. Learnt to cope with my stress. Negative tensions turn into positive. It helps my stress and anger. It stops my blood level rising. I calm down. Get time to think positive.”

“It’s very useful and I learnt a lot how to control my emotions, how to relax myself, loving myself, being positive. Thank you for the opportunity”

“I liked the course a lot. Maybe I want to do it outside when I am released. I feel very relaxed and more positive in myself. I have felt nice feelings which I have never really felt before.”

“The course was excellent. I feel more peace, calm, more flexible within myself. The course was fulfilling, enjoyable. It helped me to think, be calm, be humble, and value my life so much better. I am very glad I chose this course.”

“It was enlightening. I got better understanding of myself. The energy in the body is amazing. This course is excellent. Recommend it to every one.”

“I really liked learning new ways of relaxing, breathing techniques and feeling more relaxed each day. I got peace of mind and confidence for the future, knowing I have techniques to help me relax. It is a very good course and I hope there is a follow up session to take part in. Thank you. ”

“I learned to use the breathe to centralize my moods, to relax, and to think more positively. Would very much like to do it again.”

“I really enjoyed the course and can truly see how it could help in many areas of my life.”

“I got a sense of peace and also my injuries of the nerves in my back and legs seem to be getting better.”

“This has helped me a lot. I will never commit crime again.”

“I learnt the technique to calm the storm in my mind.”

“I feel more comfortable in myself and have reduced stress, anxiety and anger levels. I have learnt to be more self-controlled and self-sufficient.”

“I think the course was really good. I got relaxation, learnt how to cope with certain situations. I feel like a weight has been lifted of my shoulders since completing the course. Thank you for this opportunity to do this course.”

“I really enjoyed it. I learnt how to relax, how to accept people and take responsibility for my actions and a lot of good breathing techniques. This is a really good course. ”

“A treasure.”

“I enjoy this course. I find benefit of relaxation, happiness and learn breathing. It is calming, I am happy, refreshes my mind and body, even helps my digestion and also sleep. Helps my nerves. My body is relaxed, rid of tension. Thank you to everyone for this course.”

“I liked the course very much. I feel I should not put so much pressure on myself. I got focus, a sense of ability, and hope. It reduces stress and helps to sleep.”

“It was a good course. I liked it. I learned how to get stress, frustration, depression and drug dependency out my system.”

“It was brilliant. The stretches were great. The course isn’t long enough though.”

“The SMART course is a very very good course to do if you want a healthy body and mind. I get patience, different ways to deal with different people at different times. Thank you very much.”

“I learned how to live life stress and anger free.”