Stairlifts installed in prisons due to increase in elderly prisoners
20th November 2014
A number of prisons in the UK have introduced more stairlifts and mobility aids in order to deal with an increasing number of pensioner inmates. Since 2009, there has been a 34 per cent increase in prisoners aged over 65, bringing the total number of elderly prisoners last year to 8,337. In order to ensure that they are given treatment that is in line with the country’s basic standard of living requirements, mobility aids such as hand rails and high-backed rise and recline chairs have been added to a number of prisons.
Levels of pensioner inmates have now reached a record level, which many believe is due to the ageing population. Prisons are being called to modify their facilities in order to aid those who may find prison life extra difficult because of their mobility, in what has been deemed as a ‘grey crime wave’.
Adapting to the basic needs of older prisoners
Those that have responded to this issue have added walking aids, shower chairs and large televisions that display subtitles, while one prison in particular has trained younger prisoners to push older prisoners around in wheelchairs. HMP Kingston in Portsmouth had even produced its own special elderly wing, which was equipped with stairlifts before its closure in March 2013.
This also includes relocating those over 60 who require wheelchairs from HMP Buckley Hall, as their current prison is too steep for them move around with ease. This decision followed a study from the Prison Reform Trust, which claimed that the area was unsuitable for elderly inmates with mobility problems. The Director of the Prison Reform Trust stated that in order for older prisoners to not receive a double punishment for their mobility difficulties, more needs to be done in order to cater for them.
Image Credit: Michael Coghlan (Flickr.com)
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