On Thursday 7 September 2023, the Action for Children and Families of Prisoners Network joined together online for their tenth meeting.

The Network extended a warm welcome to new Network members – Exchange House, Kinship Care and Laura May Kenneally PhD student from UCC.

At the meeting, Orla O Neill from St. Stephens Green Trust (SSGT) presented on SSGT grant Programme to support families affected by convictions and imprisonment and briefly spoke about SSGT other funding application on open strengthening democracy through civic engagement and participation. 

Kerry Knox from Families Outside in Scotland also delivered a presentation on the work that they do at Families Outside. Families Outside’s Training is aimed at all professionals whose role means they come into contact with families, and who feel that they would benefit from being able to better support families who are affected by imprisonment. You can read more about the training modules here.

Network concerns in relation to children and families of prisoners were due to be raised with the Irish Prison Service (IPS) at a meeting on 29 June 2023 but has now been rescheduled by the IPS for the 15 September. A letter with all concerns from Network members has been sent to the Director General of the IPS and will be raised directly with representatives at the meeting with IPS.

There was an update on the Collaborative Book project – read more about its progress here.

Network members shared updates from the sector. Some of those included:

  • The Reach Out programme, that has been in operation in Shelton Abbey, will be starting in the Mountjoy Progression Unit. Following that the third programme will begin in the Dochás Centre in November.
  • Issues discussed around GDPR in relation to supporting families and gaining consent from people in prison. 
  • Concerns in relation to deaths in custody, mental health of people in prison and the over representation of members of the Traveller community in the figures.
  • IPRT has become a full member of Children of Prisoners in Europe (COPE) Network. Read more here.
  • A submission was made on behalf of the Network to DCEDIY Statement of Strategy 2023. Read more here.

The next meeting of the Network is due to take place the 7 December 2023.

You can read about the previous Network meeting here.