To bring the worldwide Church a greater awareness and sensitivity to the problems of people in prison, the Commission stimulates the creation and encourages the growth of Catholic prison chaplaincies all over the world.
Together with the respective Episcopal Conference and the local Ordinary it offers the needed support. As an NGO with "Special Consultative Status" the ICCPPC send representatives to the United Nations.
There are also contacts to other movements and organisations who minister to people in prison.
An unimaginable abyss of pain opened up before my eyes. First of all, poverty. Sometimes prisoners have no family to ask for the bare minimum ... And then, loneliness, which is the enemy par excellence of women and men prisoners."
This Commission was founded at an international congress, convoked in Rome in the Holy Year 1950, by the Secretary of State, (the later Pope Paul VI. Participating at this congress were heads of prison chaplaincies from many European countries, the USA and Argentina.
Fifty years later with 105 member countries it is respected as a worldwide Public Association of the Faithful in the Catholic Church, with new statutes and the same interest in pastoral care for those in prison.
Following that inaugural congress, subsequent congresses were held in Fribourg (Switzerland 1954) and in Freiburg-im-Breisgau (Germany 1955). In 1972 the venue was Rome, at which time the participants were presented to Pope Paul VI. In order to establish the Commission on a legal footing, an interim executive commission decided on an association according to Swiss law. Statutes were agreed in September 1974 by a constituent Congress in London. Membership consisted of Chaplains General actively involved in prison work, plus delegates for the Penitentiary Apostolate which latter were appointed by the Bishops Conference for countries without a Chaplain General.