The Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas (ICPO) has strongly criticised the “barely-functioning system” that has left Irish people in prison overseas and their families in Ireland feeling “utterly let down by the State”.
The ICPO expressed concern following the recent publication of the Minister for Justice and Equality’s Annual Report on the operation of the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Acts (1995 and 1997). The report provides annual figures on the number of prisoners transferred into and out of the State.
“The figures for 2020 shine a light on what is at this point, a barely-functioning system,” said Brian Hanley, co-ordinator of the ICPO.
No Irish prisoner was transferred into the State from an overseas prison for the fourth year in a row, and three quarters of those who applied to transfer to an Irish prison were refused last year.
“These numbers are unprecedented and run contrary to the Government’s stated policy that prisoners should be permitted to serve their sentences close to their families – not least because of the humanitarian benefit to prisoner’s families but also because of the improved resettlement outcomes such family engagement and supported release programmes have for society,” said Mr Hanley.
“The system has essentially ground to a halt and Irish people in prison overseas and their families here in Ireland feel utterly let down by the State.”
Picture: A prisoner inside a cell.