Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas
Please note, those calling from prison must use 0207 482 4148.
There are over 1000 Irish men and women in custody in England and Wales, the second largest ethnic group in the prison system. Nearly half of this number is made up of Irish Travellers, many with mental health problems and literacy difficulties. We know there is pressure on the system and the treatment of prisoners varies from prison to prison.Campaigns
Advice & information
Provide advice and information to prisoners and their family members
Focus public attention on issues affecting Irish prisoners
Seek justice and human rights for Irish prisoners and their families
Work with partner organisations caring for welfare of prisoners and families
There are many more people who would benefit from our services if we had the resources. We’d be grateful for any help you can offer either by becoming a volunteer or by donating.
You can also get the latest updates from our case workers and volunteers by joining our email list.VolunteerDonate NowSign up for Email Updates and News
Irish nationals in prison have specific cultural needs, especially Travellers who are rich in culture.
Lower literacy levels mean Travellers in prison experience difficulties with bureaucratic procedures. They can sometimes be discriminated against when it comes to prison jobs and are sometimes the victims of verbal abuse. Since they are also used to an outdoor lifestyle, being confined in a small cell for 23 hours a day can be detrimental to their health and wellbeing. We identified and made a series of recommendations in our Voices Unheard report based on the needs of Irish Travellers in prison.
Do you know an Irish prisoner experiencing problems in prison?
Perhaps someone in need of a friend or financial support to stay in touch with their family?
Please get in touch or let them know that they can use our service. Even one letter to a person feeling alone and losing hope can lift their spirit. Although we cannot deal with legal matters we may be able to signpost to services that are able to help. See the ICPO handbook for specific details about what we can and cannot help with.
Other useful information
Whether you are a prisoner, relative or friend, chaplain or prison department, share our ICPO information leaflet so that people know support is available.
- visiting Irish prisoners and providing them and their families with advice and information
- keeping in contact by letter
- assisting families in Ireland to visit prisoners in England and Wales
- offering pastoral support if requested
- signposting to other services
- researching, identifying and responding to prisoner needs
- working closely with other organisations and prison departments caring for the welfare of Irish prisoners and their families
Our caseworkers are experienced in working closely with prisoners and handling specific queries. We also have a prison visitors scheme, which is effective and we're always looking for help with this part of our work.
Find out what our volunteers have to say about the rewarding work they do and get in touch if you would like to volunteer - you'd be making a huge difference.
Alternatively, please kindly make a donation. As you can imagine, facilitating visits to prisoners depends on funding so every little really does help. For example, £10 may help a prisoner access vital toiletries for their everyday needs, or enable them to purchase phone credit to contact their families.Download an information leaflet
Former President of Ireland and ICPO Founding Member