An ageing prison population in the UK means jails are increasingly in demand of adaptations and mobility equipment to cater for elderly inmates.
One prison in County Durham, HMP Frankland, has installed specially adapted cells and showers for its elderly and disabled inmates.
More than a third of the prison’s population is over 50 and 35% have one or more registered disability.
Smaller items such as walking frames, thermal underwear, wedge pillows and chair raisers are also provided to inmates, according to a report published yesterday.
The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) said that it was “pleasing” to see that a stairlift had also been installed to enable prisoners with mobility issues to access library and education facilities.
Aside from new mobility equipment, there are regular activities for older prisoners, including weekly sessions run by Age UK.
In January, the IMB said that more needs to be done to cater for inmates with limited mobility.
It recommended more appropriate accommodation, for example ground floor cells, and special equipment to be installed.
The watchdog’s report on HMP Brixton said that elderly inmates need to be placed in prisons with larger, more accessible cells.
However, in August 2018 a prison in Lincolnshire was criticised by the national and local press for its investments in bariatric mobility scooters, which can cost up to £8,000 each, to help overweight inmates get around the facility.
Nevertheless, the various investments in prisons across the country and recommendations by watchdogs suggest that jails could increasingly become a focus for mobility providers in coming years.