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Prisons taking role of care homes and hospices as older population soars

Prisons are now the largest providers of residential care for frail and elderly men in England and Wales and are increasingly turning into hospices, providing end-of-life care for older prisoners and even managing their deaths.

In the first report on older prisoners by the prisons and probation ombudsman, published on Tuesday, Nigel Newcomen reveals that the number of prisoners over 60 has tripled in 15 years. He also says there will be 14,000 prisoners aged over 50 by 2020, amounting to 17% of the total prison population, up from 13% in 2014.

The situation is so serious that Peter Clarke, the chief inspector of prisons in England and Wales, has told the Guardian that he believes the time has come to introduce purpose-built “older prisoner” jails: essentially, residential care homes surrounded by a wall.

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