We’re working with Age UK Mid-Mersey to improve older prisoners’ wellbeing, support and rehabilitation at HMP Risley in Warrington so when they leave prison, they are better prepared to begin a new crime-free life.
Older prisoners are the fastest-growing group in the prison population, with the number of over 60’s increasing by 243% since 2002. Despite this growth, there are still few age-appropriate programmes within prisons. Consequently, a Justice Select Committee inquiry found too many older prisoners were being released back into the community without adequate support.
The pre-retirement programme, which started this month, works with prisoners over the age of 50 to equip them with the skills and support needed to improve their rehabilitation and wellbeing so they are better able to reintegrate back into society.
A dedicated Wellbeing Officer will work with older prisoners to encourage participation in a range of social activities to overcome isolation and promote good mental wellbeing. They will also prepare individuals for their resettlement by providing practical support and information covering pre-retirement, health, social care, housing, pensions, and technological advancements.
The programme will work closely with support services in the community, including local Age UK centres and the HMPPS (Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service) CFO (Co-Financing Organisation) Activity Hub in Warrington to ensure support continues after their release.
Suki Binning, Executive Director of Justice and Social Care and the Group’s Chief Social Worker, said:
We are pleased to be working with Age UK Mid Mersey to ensure no group is left behind, no matter their past. Older prisoners have distinct and different prison and resettlement needs. Many have served longer sentences and have lost touch with changes in society, including advances in technology. Due to institutionalisation, they may also lack critical self-help skills and confidence when leaving prison. Our programme will help individuals to overcome these barriers that can too often hold this group back from successful reintegration into our communities, enabling these individuals to build a better, brighter and law-abiding future for themselves.
Shelley Brown, Acting Chief Executive, Age UK Mid Mersey, said:
“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Interventions Alliance on a brand-new initiative to support older prisoners in Risley Prison. Older prisoners are often overlooked with a lack of social care provision. They can become isolated in their cells.
“We are excited to be part of this new initiative. It is a wonderful example of collaborative working to address a gap in services that will greatly improve prisoner rehabilitation.”