Britain’s crumbling jails struggle to cope with rising number of over-60s behind bars


CRUMBLING Victorian jails are struggling to cope with a new “Dad’s Army” of lags as the average age of prisoners skyrockets.

In a report the Commons Justice Committee said the number of over-60s behind bars has ballooned by 240 per cent in the last 18 years.

But it warned many prisons are ill equipped to deal with elderly inmates because they lack adequate medical facilities and disabled access.

MPs said the problem is due to an increase in older men being pursued over historic sex crimes.

Longer sentences for a range of serious offences means more prisoners are also growing old behind bars.

In 2002 there were 1,511 over-60s in our jails, but this year the figure stands at 5,176.

The report says 85 per cent of those have some form of major illness.

MPs are now calling on the Ministry of Justice to draw up a special strategy for dealing with our ageing prison population.

Prisons Minister Lucy Frazer said authorities would look at how new prisons can be designed “having in mind that we have an older cohort”.

A separate report for the committee warned lockdown measures used in jails to stop the spread of Covid-19 left lags facing virtual solitary confinement.

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