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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

February 10, 2005: Number of older prisoners increasing

The Howard League for Penal Reform has warned that the prison system will have to deal with huge numbers of older prisoners. The number of prisoners over 60 has trebled in a decade.

In 1993 there were 450 sentenced prisoners aged 60 and over. By 2003 this number had increased to 1,440. According to the Howard League, at current numbers we could fill three prisons with old prisoners and if the older prisoner population continues to increase at the same rate 10 new prisons would be needed. Yet, the Prison Service only has four male prisons with small wings offering specialist facilities.

Older prisoners often have special needs including infirmities, complex health problems, lack of mobility; incontinence and some suffer from terminal illnesses. Pensioner prisoners mostly don’t work so they cannot earn money to buy small treats like mints or tobacco and they have nothing to do all day. Prison exercise is usually gym based with little access to outdoors, and even then warm clothing is not provided and there are no seats. 22% of deaths in prison from natural causes last year were people aged 60 or over and this is likely to increase significantly.

Howard League Director Frances Crook said:

“We are currently witnessing a prison system which is bursting at the seams and trying to cope with the consequences of overcrowding - it is not a rational use of resources to use prison as a high security nursing home. Continuing to imprison older people at this rate raises the spectre of the Prison Service having to take over whole cemeteries.”

Howard League Policy Committee Chair Professor David Wilson commented:

“No one is pretending that these elderly prisoners have not caused harm, but you have to think long and hard about what the point is of keeping the elderly in institutions designed for the young and in circumstances that merely hasten their deaths.”