Around 2009, Fr. Charles Hoey, a prison Chaplain at Mountjoy, and Paul Mackay, a visiting committee and parole-board member, both finished their roles at the prison. Although they both had left Mountjoy prison, they continued to work together to benefit that particular population. Both men knew a serving prisoner at the time who was assisting fellow inmates, through advocacy and other supports with the issues that they were facing. Through this work, he quickly realized the value in peer support. He was able to work with, and support prisoners who did not wish to use the services available within the prison.
The Parole Board eventually granted him work release. Both Fr. Hoey and Paul Mackay felt that more needed to be done for ex-offenders to break the cycle of re-offending. They felt that he had a great approach to this and Fr. Hoey asked if he could volunteer at the Carmelite Community Centre where he was director. Paul Mackay visited him regularly as well and spoke to him about his idea to assist the elderly with reintegrating back into society upon their release. He called his plan “MAC-Mountjoy After Care”. He then offered a proposal to Paul Mackay that he’d been working on. It was a service to address the needs of the service-user from their point of view and was to be peer lead. He called this plan “CAP-Care After Prison”.
Paul Mackay supported his plan, and both of the men went to Fr. Hoey for further support in carrying it out. Fr. Hoey offered the Carmelite Community Centre as the host venue for CAP, offering rooms and equipment free of charge. Finally, Care After Prison, Ireland’s first peer lead charity, was born. His lived experiences and personal understanding of the needs of prisoners, ex-offenders, families, and youth offenders were used to develop CAP. His approach involves all stakeholders including victims of crime to aid in the process of rehabilitation/recovery for all those concerned. It was important to utilize the experiences of ex-offenders to help break the cycle of reoffending through leading by example. He felt, and still feels, that change is possible for all people given the right circumstances and supports.