Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas : Prisoner handbook

Irish Chaplaincy for Prisoners Overseas offers advice and information to prisoners.

The handbook covers:

  • The number of visits you can receive in prison and what your visitor must remember to bring with them
  • Your entitlement to exercise for at least one hour a day in the open air
  • The rules around making telephone calls
  • Sending and receiving post
  • The General Application document
  • Definition of bail

and much more...

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Irish Chaplaincy Seniors Project Review 2017

Sharon Tuppeny - July 2017

The Irish Chaplaincy Seniors Project (ISCP) offer on-going, person centred befriending, support and advocacy for Irish elderly people, many of whom are isolated and unable to access day services. They respond to individual needs to support the complex interplay between emotional well-being, physical health, and, where relevant, to the spiritual needs of the individual. The feedback from stakeholders strongly supports the benefit from a long-term connection and relationship that the ICSP provides, even if only on an intermittent basis.

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Right Type of Education: A Briefing on Education and Training Provision for Gypsy and Irish Traveller Prisoners in England and Wales

5% of the prisoner population in England and Wales is made up of people with a Gypsy or Traveller background. 68% of Travellers did not attend school or left before the age of 14 and many were not able to access the education and training options on offer in prison as the entry requirements required high literacy levels.

The Traveller Equality Project commissioned this research paper to identify the specific cultural needs of this prisoner group with regards to education and training. It makes recommendations to encourage entry level literacy courses and serves as a reminder to take the unique needs of these communities into account to lower the chances of reoffending.

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Voices Unheard: A Study of Irish Travellers in Prison (2011)

"Staff kept saying he needed a shower when he was very clean, like they thought of him as someone who doesn’t understand cleanliness because he used to live in a caravan because they don’t know the truth about Traveller morals and life." (Diversity Manager)

The Irish Chaplaincy commissioned this research project in response to the needs identified in their work, which noted grave concern about the treatment of Travellers in prison. The Irish Council of Prisoners Overseas (ICPO) also recorded high levels of discrimination, distress, self-harm and isolation experienced by Irish Traveller prisoners through their work across prisons, as a result of prejudice and the community's cultural uniqueness.

Voices Unheard demonstrates a pattern of discriminatory treatment experienced by Irish Travellers as expressed by them across the prison system.

One of the key findings presented in this report was that there was no adequate strategy for monitoring Irish Travellers in prison as a separate group or as part of Gypsy Traveller Roma category. A series of recommendations were made to prisons in England and Wales as a result of this research including the need to promote cultural awareness through diversity training for prison staff to be used further to create wider awareness in prison.

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Working with Gypsy and Traveller Offenders: A Thames Valley Probation Case Study Joe Cottrell-Boyce Traveller Equality Project

This research study was commissioned by Thames Valley Probation service to gain an insight into Traveller and Gypsy service users. The report identifies the communities' specific needs and outlines recommendations for the provision of a culturally-specific approach to addressing the communities and the services required in prison. Among other recommendations it covers the need to:

  • address distinct Traveller communities according to their own specific needs
  • support groups with literacy skills so that they can participate in offending behaviour courses
  • consider mobile sites when making decisions on release plans given the importance of family within the culture
  • include information on Gypsy and Traveller culture and history in equality and diversity training
  • Coverage of Gypsy, Romany and Irish Traveller communities on the internet, television and newspapers is often negative. This book features a collection of stories from Travellers themselves and serves as a fruitful starting point into their lives.

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Traveller Voices - FAQs on the Cultural Identity and Health Needs of Gypsy Travellers

Research suggests that Gypsy Travellers suffer poorer health outcomes that any other English speaking minority group in England*.

This Mary Seacole Development Award project for NHS City and Hackney identifies thoughts from Travellers on topics that are often misunderstood by healthcare professionals including:

  • what health professionals should know when addressing Travellers
  • why there many people from the community visit a patient at one time
  • why Travellers shy away from getting professional medical attention.

The paper also covers quotes from Travellers on other topics such as education, discrimination, employment and aspirations.

The Traveller Equality Project commissioned this research paper to identify the specific cultural needs of this prisoner group with regards to education and training. It makes recommendations to encourage entry level literacy courses and serves as a reminder to take the unique needs of these communities into account to lower the chances of reoffending.

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A Traveller's Home by Conn Mac Gabhann
Illustrations by Niamh Merc

A short story about teenager John who finds himself looking for an adventure.

He soon realises that travelling is not always easy, but that he wouldn't have it any other way.

This is part of a series of stories by the Irish Chaplaincy designed for early readers within the Gypsy and Traveller backgrounds. The project is funded by the National Lottery, Shannon Trust and the Irish Embassy.

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We Are Travellers by Joe Cotrell-Boyce

A short piece about where Gypsies came from and how Travellers live today.

Although this is changing with time, the piece shows how Travellers hold on to their culture. It mentions how they love to sing songs, tell stories and play music.

This is part of a series of stories by the Irish Chaplaincy designed for early readers within the Gypsy and Traveller backgrounds. The project is funded by the National Lottery, Shannon Trust and the Irish Embassy.

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Story The Fight

The Fight by Conn Mac Gabhann, Illustrations by Niamh Merc

A powerful story about two Irish Traveller friends who were like brothers. Then one day, due to traditions in their culture they were made to do something that changed their relationship.

This is part of a series of stories by the Irish Chaplaincy designed for early readers within the Gypsy and Traveller backgrounds. The project is funded by the National Lottery, Shannon Trust and the Irish Embassy.

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The Traveller Equality Project response to the Home Office Stop and Search Consultation

Read the answers we gave to questions asked by the home office around the usefulness of Stop and Searches and the events in which a search should be carried out.

Many Travellers feel discriminated against in this area of the authority's work. They feel like they are stopped for being who they are, rather than having an actual reason. Here we protect the human rights and civil liberties of Travellers by encouraging authorities to base Stop and Searches on objective reasons rather than painting all people with the same brush. The answers were based on messages presented from a range of Travellers through research projects we've led.

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Gypsy and Traveller Prisoners: A Good Practice Guide

An excellent resource for prison leaders to use when considering the human rights, health and wellbeing of a Gypsy and or Traveller.

It outlines the usual difficulties faced by these communities in prison and suggests methods and solutions for overcoming or improving situations around health, education, taking into consideration unique cultural needs.

This guide can form part of a prison's wider equality framework and covers the:

relevance of organising Traveller groups

need to have a Traveller representative in prison

importance of ethnic monitoring be able to attend to specific cultural needs

mental health issues most likely to be experienced by Travellers

need to make education and training options more accessible

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Travelling through the Generations: By Pavee Point

Many older Irish Travellers fear their culture is fading as the younger generation of Travellers adopt modern ways, while many of the younger Travellers feel nothing they do is good enough. This has caused a gap in the communication between these two generations.

To address these differences, a group of Travellers of different ages came together to work on a unique multigenerational project, this booklet is the 'fruit of that work'.

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On Road: A Celebration of GRT Writing from HMP/YOI Parc

"What was actually cool was around this time Native Americans were travelling through Ireland and they came to visit our camp. They told us how we shared traditions such as building and lighting fires and everyone gathers around the campfire to chat and share stories." (A prisoner at HMP Parc)

Coverage of Gypsy, Romany and Irish Traveller communities on the internet, television and newspapers is often negative. This book features a collection of stories from Travellers themselves and serves as a fruitful starting point into their lives.

As Dr Con Mac Gabhann puts it in his foreword: "We often hear about Travellers but we so rarely hear from Travellers."

On Road is a stunning collection of stories mainly because it does not edit or change the real voice of Gypsies and Travellers.

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