Understanding the needs and experiences of older people in prison
Joint report by Clinks and Recoop
Clinks and Recoop have come together to publish a report providing valuable evidence on the needs and experiences of older people in prison, with key recommendations for policymakers to influence the development of the Older offender strategy.
Based on the lived experiences of older people in prison, this joint work has revealed the particular challenges they face and has highlighted the need for an overarching and consistent approach to meeting these needs. Four key themes were investigated:
- Ensuring older people are placed in establishments which can meet their needs
- Access to age appropriate meaningful activity
- Access to health and care provision which meets multiple and complex health and social care needs
- Preparing for resettlement in the community upon release or end of life in prison.
The report, commissioned by Clinks through our work as a member of the Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Health and Wellbeing Alliance, was informed by Recoop’s engagement with older people in prison. Recoop did this through creating forums in three prisons and questionnaires in a further four establishments. Special thanks goes to all of the older people in prison who took the time to speak to us so openly and honestly, sharing their thoughts, experiences and emotions to shape this report.
- Older people are not being appropriately accommodated in prison with the facilities being difficult to navigate and their specific needs not being fully met
- It is therefore recommended that all prisons conduct a physical environment check to ensure that all areas are accessible for those with mobility, visual and hearing impairments and that staff are trained to understand and support the needs of the older population
- It is also key that older prisoners have access to purposeful and accessible activity tailored to meet their needs and that health and care assessments are completed upon reception
- It is essential that resettlement planning takes place as soon as possible with older people being involved in the process, and for those who will come to the end of their lives in prison, that palliative and end of life care be a priority
- Overall, we suggest that the Ministry of Justice and Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) should develop a delivery plan to sit underneath the long awaited national Older offender strategy alongside developing a local strategy for meeting the needs of older prisoners informed by the HMPPS Model of Operational Delivery: Older prisoners.