Prison Programme

Ireland is the first country in the world to implement the Community based health and first aid programme in a prison setting. The prisoners as Irish Red Cross volunteers and peer-to-peer educators. 

The programme operates under a partnership of the Irish Red Cross, the Irish Prison Service and Education & Training Boards (ETBs). It was initially piloted in Wheatfield prison in June 2009  and was extended to all 14 prisons throughout Ireland by 2014.

Ireland was the first country in the world to introduce the Community Based Health and First Aid (CBHFA) programme in a prison setting. 

The CBHFA programme was originally designed by the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to be facilitated globally in communities in a simple and flexible way.

The initiative benefits the prisoner community daily and also benefits prison staff and families of prisoners. Evaluation of the programme has demonstrated high impact in terms of positive developments within the prison environment. Projects under the programme have led to a significant increase in healthcare awareness and prisoners’ personal wellbeing.


• International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) 2015 Volunteering Development Award

• Irish Institute of Training & Development (IITD) National Awards 2013, Training Award

• Irish Healthcare Awards November 2012, Commendation Award for Best Public Health Initiative

• Bionmis Irish Healthcare Awards May 2012, Best Health Promotion Project

• World Health Organisation Award in 2011 for Best Practice in Prison Health

Prison Community Project

Irish Red Cross inmate volunteers that have successfully completed the Community Based Health Programme have the option to take on further training to become facilitators of the Culture of Non-Violence and Peace Workshop. This is a two-day workshop focused on Violence Prevention and Overdose Prevention, as well as handling anger, managing stress, developing coping skills, and goal setting. These workshops are peer-led and delivered to service users of the Probation and other members of the community in various Counties around Ireland.

To read further information about this project, click here.

To download further information about this programmeclick here.

Alternatively, email Carrie McGowan, CBHFA Programme Manager

Email Carrie at

For more information on Irish Red Cross’ Global Reference Hub on CBHFA in Detention, go to