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Dementia-friendly prisons to be included in expansion programme

Monday, November 18th 2019 - The Times

With the number of prisoners in England & Wales aged 50+ increasing from 7,548 in 2009 to 13,890 as at the end of September 2019 (an increase of 80%) [MOJ], so too do the issues faced by the prisons on how best to accommodate their particular needs.

A recent article in The Times (11th November) highlighted the MOJ’s recognition of the fact that older prisoners have specific needs which need to be addressed and which have “led to improvements in the design of new prisons at Wellingborough in Northamptonshire and Glen Parva in Leicestershire.  Adaptations include equipping the prisons with lifts for wheelchair-bound prisoners and décor which will be finished in contrasting colours to help those with poor sight or memory loss.   Communal areas will be acoustically treated with sound-absorbing curtains and soft furnishings to absorb noise which can be disorientating.”

Richard Ford, The Times Home Correspondent, spoke to RECOOP’s Chief Officer, Paul Grainge, about the challenges faced by older prisoners and the work RECOOP is doing in the South West training Buddies – younger prisoners assisting older prisoners – with the daily challenges they face.  Paul went on to say that “he hoped the government will consider providing dedicated house-blocks for the elderly with wider doors, grab rails, non-slip surfaces, dementia-friendly colours and lighting”.

The article can be read here.

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