Government faces call to help support Irish ex-prisoners from overseas

astepThe Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas (ICPO) has called on the Government to provide more support for Irish citizens returning to their home country after imprisonment overseas.

In a new report titled A Step at a Time: The Resettlement Needs of Irish People Returning From Prison Overseas, the ICPO said ex-prisoners “require a range of supports in order to successfully resettle back into the community and avoid re-offending”.

The report was launched today at a conference in Dublin Castle marking the thirtieth anniversary of the ICPO’s establishment.

President Michael D Higgins was among those addressing delegates, thanking the ICPO for its “practical work in aid of justice and human rights for all Irish prisoners”.

Fewer than 100 Irish ex-prisoners return to Ireland each year, according to the ICPO’s research.

However, a “significant number” who do are “acutely vulnerable and lack many of the basic social supports people take for granted”, including access to statutory benefits like medical cards and clothing grants.

The report recommends that ex-prisoners should be able to able to apply for Personal Public Service (PPS) numbers and social welfare to be commenced before their return to Ireland.

It also recommends improving awareness among UK probation officers of the possibility of Irish prisoners returning to Ireland under the supervision of the Irish Probation Service.

The full report is available from the Catholic Bishops of Ireland website.

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