Social and custodial needs of older adults in prison

Age Ageing. 2013 Sep;42(5):589-93. doi: 10.1093/ageing/aft066. Epub 2013 Jun 21.


Background: older prisoners are a fast-growing group but there is limited evidence for how well their needs are being met.

Objectives: to quantify the social and custodial needs of older prisoners and suggest improvements for service provision.

Design: cross-sectional study.

Setting: twelve prisons holding adult males in North West England.

Subjects: two hundred and sixty-two prisoners; 97 aged between 50 and 59, 165 aged 60 and over.

Methods: interview and case-note review for issues of social and custodial need and quality of life in prison, including Forensic Camberwell Assessment of Need and Lubben Scale for social networks.

Results: many had problems mixing with younger prisoners, accommodation and activities, and limited contact with friends and family. A small group had personal care needs which were not well managed in prison.

Conclusion: older prisoners have distinct social and custodial needs which need to be addressed by a national strategy for their care and management.

Keywords: forensic; needs assessment; older people; prisoners; service provision.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Age Factors
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Custodial Care*
  • Family Relations
  • Friends
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment*
  • Prisoners / psychology*
  • Prisons*
  • Quality of Life
  • Social Behavior*