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Commenting on the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman’s bulletin on prisoners with dementia, Peter Dawson, Incoming Director of the Prison Reform Trust, said: 

“This report highlights in distressing detail how imprisonment for many old, disabled people can amount to a double punishment. Prisoners are entitled to the same care in prison as they would receive in the community. They should not be subject to inhumane or degrading treatment due to a lack of preparedness by the prison service. The cross-party Justice Committee, the independent Prisons Inspectorate, and now the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, have called on the government urgently to develop a national strategy to deal with the rapidly growing numbers of elderly and infirm people behind bars. The new justice secretary should heed their advice.”

Notes

A joint report by the Prison Reform Trust and Restore Support Network published this month revealed that older people released from prison are being set up to fail by a lack of adequate provision to meet their health and social care needs. It highlights how limited and inconsistent support to help sort out housing, employment, personal finances and debt, drug and alcohol dependence, and re-establish family relationships is also undermining the effective resettlement of older prisoners and increases the risk of future offending. The report, Social care or systematic neglect?, calls for the creation of a cross-government national strategy for meeting the health, social and rehabilitative needs of older people in prison and on release in the community.