Call for prisons to adapt for less-abled and elderly inmates

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Adaptations to prisons will be needed in the near future as the number of elderly and less-abled inmates increases, a new report has claimed.

A report by the Scottish Prison Service said “the need for social care support, equipment and changes to the prison estate to accommodate the care of people in prison who have social care needs is likely to grow”.

The prison service said that it would need to work with other bodies to meet the future care needs of prisoners and even hinted at the potential of separate accommodation and services specifically for elderly prisoners and those with health and disability needs.

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Between 2010 and 2016, the number of men aged over 50 in Scotland’s prison population rose by more than 60% according to a BBC report.These prisoners are more likely to have specialist needs, for example mobility and washing.

In the BBC report, former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill was quoted as saying that the Scottish Prison Service should consider establishing a separate facility for older people.

He said: “Prison officers aren’t trained to deal with the needs of elderly prisoners, particularly those with dementia.

“There is also a practical problem of accommodating elderly and disabled prisoners. They can’t be doubled up in a cell as they may have arthritis or other mobility problems preventing them from accessing a top bunk.”

In December, MacAskill even suggested that some care homes should be converted into secure units for elderly and less-abled inmates.

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