Leaving prison


This document provides an overview of the services and supports available to help you if you are leaving prison.

You may be able to get advice from the Probation Service before you leave prison and after your release. The Probation Service funds a range of community based projects which may be able to assist you return to education, training or employment.

Finding accommodation

Your first priority after leaving prison may be finding somewhere to live. There are supports available if you are homeless. If you are under 18 years, you should register with the social worker in your Local Health Office.

You can apply for housing from your Local Authority.

If you are on the waiting list for Local Authority housing and you find a place to rent, you can apply for Housing Assistance Payment so that the Local Authority will pay your landlord part of your rent.

If you are renting you can get help if you have a disagreement with your landlord.

If you are returning to a home that has not been lived in while you were in prison, you may need to reconnect the electricity supply.

Finding a job

If you are looking for work, you can register with your local Intreo Centre. These offices provide information and advice services for jobseekers, including a list of job vacancies and a Jobseeker Information Pack. Jobs are also listed on the website jobsireland.ie and you can upload your CV to this website.

Read more about how to find a job.

There is a range of training and education courses, including adult education, vocational training, apprenticeships and back to education.

There are also employment schemes you can use to get work experience. For some schemes that require you to be on a payment for a time before you do the scheme, time spent in prison may be included to meet the requirement.

If you are offered a job on a construction site but need a Safe Pass card, you may be able to get help to pay for Safe Pass training.

If you want to become self-employed, you can get help with starting a business.

You may need to get a Personal Public Service Number if you do not already have one.

Whether you have to disclose a spent conviction when looking for employment depends on the type of employment, but in most cases you do not.


You may qualify for a social welfare payment if you are unemployed or unable to work. You should go to your local social welfare office for further information.

Social welfare payments that may be available to you include Jobseeker's Allowance (formerly Unemployment Assistance), Disability Allowance or Supplementary Welfare Allowance. The Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme may also help you with certain once-off or urgent costs.

Depending on the number of social insurance contributions you have and the length of time you spent in prison, you may qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit or Illness Benefit.

If you apply for a social welfare payment, you may be asked to register for a Public Services Card, if you do not already have one.

If you have problems managing your money, you should contact the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS).

Health Services

You may be able to get a medical card, depending on your income and circumstances. With a medical card, you can get public health services free of charge, including doctor visits and public hospital services.

People with medical cards are entitled to prescribed drugs and medicines, subject to a charge per item prescribed. Otherwise you may get help with prescribed drugs and medicines under the Drugs Payment Scheme.

If your income is above the limit for a medical card, you may be able to get a GP visit card. This means you can visit a GP for free. If you do not have a medical card or GP Visit card, visits to your GP are not free.

You can apply online for the medical card or GP visit card at medicalcard.ie. If you prefer, you can get an application form from your nearest health centre or Local Health Office, where staff can help you fill out the forms and answer any other questions.

People suffering from certain long-term illnesses are entitled to get the drugs and medicines for the treatment of that illness free of charge. This is called the Long-Term Illness Scheme.

If you need support from mental health services, contact your GP or use the mental health service finder.

To find addiction services in your area, contact your Local Health Office.


There are lots of ways to continue your education, further your training and get new skills. Find out about education and training supports here.

These include courses at all levels of education. If you left school early you could return to education with the Back to Education Initiative.

Other supports

There may be organisations in your area that provide supports to prisoners.

Some voluntary organisations provide support for the families of prisoners.

Page edited: 24 December 2018