Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Britain is no country for more and more old men languishing in prison at the end of their days

Nick Hardwick, the Chief Inspector of Prisons, has said that old men over the age of 60 are now the fastest-growing part of the jail population in England and Wales.

Nick HardwickBack in April Nick told the House of Commons Justice Select Committee that the prison service had become a significant carer of elderly people but was struggling to meet their social and healthcare needs. He made the following points, that :

* some prisons, such as Leyhill open prison in Gloucestershire, had developed day-centre-type activities and 'quieter wings' where older prisoners could escape the hurly burly of general prison life.

* other prisons had a lack of awareness among prison staff of how they should meet the health and social care needs of old prisoners who were less likely to complain or raise problems with staff.

*  there were 3,333 prisoners aged over 60 in jails in England and Wales last September, an increase of more than 100% over the previous 10 years and  included 42 prisoners over the age of 80 with the oldest at 92.

*  the rapid rise in old men prisoners was a result of the courts passing tougher sentences, particularly for sex offenders and more than 40% of prisoners aged over 60 have been imprisoned for sexual offences.

Nigel Newcomen, the 'Prisons and Probation Ombudman', also raised the issue of old prisoners who died in jail and said :

* a study of 200 'end-of-life cases'  had shown that while there was generally equitable treatment, compared with the care and help the prisoners would have received in the community but in a quarter of the cases the possibility of compassionate release had not been adequately explored.

* 50 dying prisoners had been wrongly chained or handcuffed during their final days in hospital or in a hospice over the past five years.

My posting on old men in prison last year :

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Britain is a country where old men die in prison " at the last stop before Heaven or Hell"

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