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We know that older people in prison often having morbidity rates similar to peers in the community 10 years their senior. At the same time in many countries the number of people in prison defined as “older” (those aged 50 years or older) is increasing at a disproportionately high rate. For example, in the UK, the proportion of people in prison in this age group has increased by169% over the last 15 years to 15.6% of the whole prison population.In the USA, the proportion of prisoners who are considered older has increased from 10.3% to 19.2% in the same time period. Furthermore, projection data from many Western countries suggests that this age group will continue to be the fastest growing age-group within prisons for the next 5 years, with an estimated 14,800 older prisoners in England and Wales expected by 2021, which would equate to nearly 1 in every 5 prisoners being aged 50 years and over.

In response to this phenomenon, Public Health England have today launched a new resource to support older people in prison. It’s title is “Health and social care needs assessments of the older prison population- A guidance document”. This document has been written by PHE’s Health and Justice team, with support from NHS England and Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Services (HMPPS) with input from a wide range of other partner organisations including older people who have been in prison in the past. The document  acts as a resource or tool, providing a detailed structure to guide those undertaking Health & Social Care Needs Assessments of older people in prison. It includes suggested themes to be covered by a needs assessment, key issues to be considered as well as information and data sources. It is available to freely download from the following link