CALLING TIME: Are family visits a priority for the prison service?
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While the rest of the country resumes normal service, prison visits have not returned to pre-pandemic levels with children left cut off from their parents in prison.

Almost 10,000 children have a parent in prison in Ireland over the course of a year. They are invisible victims of the Irish criminal justice system, serving what one report called “a second sentence parallel to the imprisoned parent”, through no fault of their own.

Our investigation exposed ongoing issues which families told us make visiting conditions in Irish prisons not fit for children.

This project was supported by a grant from St Stephen’s Green Trust, with additional funding from our investigative fund required to complete this project. The investigation is fully editorially independent as outlined in our Fairness Policy.


Over the course of six months, we took a deep dive into the key issues and found the situation in prisons is far from ideal. We revealed that some children only get to see their parent in-person once a month and experts are concerned that video calls are replacing visits.

Our work involved speaking to NGOs, charities, prison workers and families who have or had a parent in prison as well as collecting data from the Irish Prison Service (IPS) and reading through hundreds of pages of documents.

We produced two articles and a podcast as part of this series, revealing that visiting restrictions continue due to resource constraints and how, for children, visiting a jailed parent is "traumatising".

  • Read the results of this investigation here

Our investigations are sourced from and crowdfunded by the public. If you want to help fund our ongoing work, consider making a once-off or monthly contribution to our investigative fund.

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