* snap to attention
* compete for resources
* stick to a routine
There can be little justification for keeping old men in prison in an expensive, overcrowded, high-security prison, who barely know where they are and are incapable of fulfilling the requirements for release.
Caring for inmates with dementia can be distressing for them as well as fellow prisoners. One officer called 'Smith' has said that he had such a prisoner on his wing. Overnight, every night, 'Jim' would forget that he was guilty of any crime and wake, expecting to be in his own bed, at home and every morning, Officer Smith had to allocate extra time to gently break the news to him, yet again, that he was in prison. Why. And for how long.
He said that it was deeply upsetting, not just for Jim, but for him, too : “Of course this prisoner should be punished for his crime, but his condition meant his punishment was many times worse than a prisoner without dementia. I ended up feeling that he was going through something closer to torture than to civilised punishment. It didn’t seem humane and it didn’t seem fair.”
He said of Brad, “He was one of few groups of older prisoners for whom you can say that being in prison is better than being on the outside. He had his basic needs met and had some companionship. Outside, he’d be on his own, deserted by family, and not receiving day-to-day help. But he didn’t really know he was in prison, so whether that’s an appropriate use of prison places, I don’t know.”
What has been Britain's response to this growing problem of more and more old men banged up in prison and suffering from dementia ? :
HMP Whatton, in Nottinghamshire, has a 'Dementia-Friendly Cell' with a large clock and clear signs and that is it.