“I feel I’m serving that sentence with him. I’m serving every day”
Sarah’s first reaction when she heard her son Paul had been arrested in the United States was disbelief: “I kept thinking ‘this can’t be real, it’s not real’. We had absolutely no idea he had gone down that road”.
Her biggest worry was for his safety: “I had a lot of concerns- is he being looked after, would he be hurt, would he do harm to himself, is he eating…” Paul didn’t want to remain in contact with his family following his arrest and asked them not to visit him. This made things harder as Sarah didn’t know how he was or what was happening within the prison: “Not having someone on the ground who could see if he’s alright and the fact that he was able to cut us off even though we knew where he was made it really difficult.”
“ICPO was very important to me…I will be indebted to them for the rest of my life”
Many Irish prisoners overseas find the distance from home very hard to cope with. For James, an ICPO client who recently returned from the United States, maintaining contact with his family was crucial: “The thing that kept me going while I was in prison was my family and the people that knew me well. That support was very important.”
James has always maintained his innocence and says this kept him going. He had been working in the United States for several years before he was arrested: “I knew how things ran in that country, but I didn’t know anything about how the prison system ran. It’s easy to end up in prison in the US and very hard to get out”. During his sentence he tried to stay away from gangs and other things going on within the prison. “I kept busy and had a set routine. I kept myself to myself … It was hard- I was living in a cube, with the next person two inches away from me.” (more…)
‘Imprisoned Overseas’, article by Brian Hanley, ICPO Caseworker
http://www.irishtimes.com/blogs/generationemigration/2014/06/18/banged-up-abroad-what-to-do-if-in-trouble-with-the-law/ June 2014
ICPO presents to Oireachtas Committee on repatriation
ICPO welcomes decision not to compulsorily transfer Irish prisoners from the UK
http://www.catholicbishops.ie/2014/02/19/irish-council-prisoners-overseas-welcomes-decision-compulsorily-transfer-irish-prisoners-uk/ February 2014
ICPO information for media
http://www.catholicbishops.ie/2013/08/13/irish-council-prisoners-overseas-information-media/ August 2013
ICPO – Supporting Irish prisoners overseas and their families
If you or a loved one have been arrested, charged or imprisoned overseas please contact us on +353 1 5053156 for information, advice or just to talk to someone in confidence. We care about the welfare of all Irish prisoners...