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Rinku Das (Hazra)

International transfers OF PRISONERS UNDER LAW IRELAND

If you are a foreign national serving a term of imprisonment in Ireland, you can apply for a transfer to complete your sentence in your home state.

Ireland is a signatory to the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. The Treaty, ratified by 66 countries including 19 states outside the Council of Europe, provides for the extradition of non-nationals convicted of a criminal offence to their home country. If a country is not a signatory to the Convention a transfer will require a bilateral agreement between the two states.

For a transfer to take place, there must be 3-way consent. The prisoner, the sentencing country and the prisoner’s home country must all agree to the transfer.

Additionally, you must meet 4 conditions to be eligible to apply for a transfer:

You must be regarded as a national of the country you wish to be transferred to.
Your sentence must be final. You cannot apply for transfer before you face trial or until after all appeals have been heard.

There must be at least 6 months left to serve on your sentence.

The crime for which you were convicted must also be recognised as a crime in your home country.
An application for a transfer usually begins with a prisoner informing the prison authorities of their desire to complete their sentence in their home country. Alternatively, you can communicate this wish directly to the Minister for Justice. The Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas have produced a valuable factsheet (PDF) on the process of applying for an international transfer.

The legal complexity of the international transfer process is such that most applications take a long time. The Minister for Justice produces an annual report (PDF) on the operation of the transfer scheme which shows the number of prisoners transferred in and out of Ireland each year.