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Calls for Aging Offenders to be Housed in Secure Care Homes

The governor of a Scottish prison has called for new secure care facilities to meet the needs of elderly inmates.

HMP Glenochil governor Natalie Beal described the ageing innate population she houses at the Scottish prison, as increasingly challenging requiring personalised health plans to meet the growing care needs the prison is having to accommodate.

Ms Beal said that 50 of the facility’s 730 inmates had some sort of healthcare plan in place, but the prison was not designed to meet the needs of an aging population.

As the Scottish prison population ages, there are demands to meet complex needs such as bathing, dressing, and feeding. The older prisoners’ medical issues, including mobility problems, hip replacements, dementia, and neurological conditions, also require extra care.

The Scottish Prison Service funding for social care, which was £636,000 in 2018, rose to to £2.1 million in 2022, confirming that additional resources are needed to address the problems faced by inmates.

Of Scotland’s estimated 8,000 prisoners, almost 700 are aged 60 or over, with the percentage of prisoners over 50 doubling in the past 10 years. As a result, Ms Beal has suggested the creation of a secure care home solely for the elderly prison population. Following this, a spokesman for the Scottish government has expressed that the government has increased the Scottish Prison Service’s budget by up to 10% to solve the complex prison population problem.

HMP Glenochil’s oldest resident is in his 80s, Beal said, adding that that care needs across the prison included help with dressing, washing and eating, as well as the use of hoists and wheelchairs.

The governor commented: “We were not built with an ageing population in mind. We don’t have enough space. We don’t have enough accessible cells

“We need to think about something like a secure care home. We have people whose needs are wider than a secure prison regime.”


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