Release & Resettlement
Returning home after a period of imprisonment overseas can be an exciting yet challenging time. The needs of former prisoners as they resettle in Ireland after release can be many and varied. Irish people who are imprisoned overseas don’t have the same opportunities to prepare for release as people imprisoned in Ireland. Many of our clients have lived and been imprisoned abroad for many years and may struggle to adapt to living in a country they no longer feel familiar with.
We provide advice and support to prisoners in advance of their release and assist them in accessing the supports they will require upon their return to Ireland. ICPO can make referrals to various services to help in accessing benefits, education, training and in some instances, supported housing. It is necessary for those imprisoned abroad to start planning for their release well ahead of time, as much as a year in advance in some cases.
We have developed a Resettlement Handbook to assist people who are returning to Ireland after completing their sentence abroad. It provides practical information on preparing for release as well as where to get support when you return to Ireland. If you would like to receive a copy of this booklet please get in touch with us.
Advance preparation is key to the resettlement process so please talk to your ICPO caseworker as early as possible, ideally 6-12 months ahead of your release date. It is vital that people gather and keep any documentation they have in relation to their detention and, if possible, keep a copy of their passport or temporary travel document.
In 2015 ICPO conducted research with Irish people returning from prison overseas. It looked at their needs in relation to housing, education, training and employment, finance, health and family support and found that the main challenges former prisoners initially face in returning to Ireland are accessing benefits and finding suitable accommodation. The role of a supportive family structure in aiding resettlement was found to be crucial and the reports recommends assistance for families to visit their relative in prison should be provided in a consistent manner. To see the full set of recommendations please read the report.