Prisons urged to improve facilities for disabled and elderly inmates

Inmates with limited mobility need to be placed in more appropriate accommodation, for example in ground floor cells, or have special equipment installed so that they can collect their meals and access social activities.

That’s according to a new report by a prison watchdog which looked at HMP Brixton and said elderly and inmates with chronic mobility problems need to be placed in prisons with larger, more accessible cells.

The report by the Independent Monitoring Board for the London jail also recommended that inmates with mental disabilities need better provision and support.

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It found that some inmates had struggled to collect their meals or make it to social activities and had faced difficulties accessing a mobility scooter located at ground level.

According to the report, Brixton’s “cramped cells” cannot accommodate two men humanely, particularly if they are old or infirm

The board said it was “concerned” about the “safety and decency of housing so many infirm men upstairs”.

As of August, 21 inmates were assisted by prisoner ‘buddies’, who collected their meals and did other tasks like making the bed.

Since the report was made, HMP Brixton has installed an accessibility lift in the wing holding most older prisoners, according to a newspaper. The report also found the prison had improved significantly in the last year.  

A separate report last year by HM Inspectorate of Prisons and the CQC claimed that UK prisons are generally under-equipped for inmates with restricted mobility.

A Prison Service spokesman told the Express and Star that it is building a prison estate that is “fair and decent”.

“Our ageing prison population poses challenges and inspectors recently noted that there is already good work going on to adapt prisons for their needs,” they said.

Image: Stock image / Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images

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Joe Peskett

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