Repatriation is an important issue for many ICPO clients who wish to serve their sentence close to their families. Maintaining family ties during a period of imprisonment is essential to ensure effective reintegration and rehabilitation. Transfer to an Irish prison also provides people with an opportunity to adequately prepare for their release, allowing them to access essential supports and services in Ireland.
In general a person must be convicted and sentenced before they can apply for repatriation. People should be aware that this is a long process and it can take up to two years to receive a decision on an application for repatriation. Read the ICPO factsheet on repatriation here
Transfers to Ireland are governed by the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Acts, which ratified the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. Over 60 states operate the convention, including some South and Central American countries. If a country is not a signatory to the Convention a transfer will require a bilateral agreement between the two states.
The Minister for Justice and Equality produces an annual report on the operation of the transfer legislation which shows the number of prisoners transferred in and out of Ireland:
Transfer of Sentenced Persons Annual Report 2012
Transfer of Sentenced Persons Annual Report 2013
The ICPO monitors repatriation applications with the Department of Justice and Equality on behalf of clients and is grateful to the Department of Justice for its assistance in this regard.