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‘They just throw you out’: release planning for older prisoners

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 August 2014

KATRINA FORSYTH*
Affiliation:
The Offender Health Research Network, The University of Manchester, UK.
JANE SENIOR
Affiliation:
The Offender Health Research Network, The University of Manchester, UK.
CAROLINE STEVENSON
Affiliation:
The Offender Health Research Network, The University of Manchester, UK.
KATE O'HARA
Affiliation:
Dublin Institute of Technology, Republic of Ireland.
ADRIAN HAYES
Affiliation:
The Offender Health Research Network, The University of Manchester, UK.
DAVID CHALLIS
Affiliation:
Personal Social Services Research Unit, The University of Manchester, UK.
JENNY SHAW
Affiliation:
Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and Institute of Brain Behaviour and Mental Health, The University of Manchester, UK.
*Corresponding
Address for correspondence: Katrina Forsyth, Centre for Mental Health and Risk, Offender Health Research Network, Institute of Brain Behaviour and Mental Health, Room 2.314, Jean McFarlane Building, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK. E-mail: Katrina.forsyth@manchester.ac.uk

Abstract

Older prisoners are the fastest growing incarcerated sub-group. They have more complex health and social care needs than both younger prisoners and their age-matched peers living in the community. Prisoners who have been recently released are at enhanced risk in terms of their physical and mental health. Consequently, there is a need for timely, multi-disciplinary release planning. The aim of this study was to explore the health and social care needs of older male adults discharged from prison into the community. Qualitative interviews were carried out with prisoners with four weeks left to serve (N=62), with follow-up interviews conducted four weeks after release (N=45). Participants were selected from nine prisons in the North of England. The constant comparison method was used to analyse the data. Older prisoners perceived release planning to be non-existent. There was a reported lack of formal communication and continuity of care, causing high levels of anxiety. Older prisoners experienced high levels of anxiety about the prospect of living in probation-approved premises; however, those who did go on to live in probation-approved premises had their immediate health and social care needs better met than those who did not move into such accommodation. Release planning for older prisoners is generally inadequate and there is currently a missed opportunity to address the needs of this vulnerable group.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

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