A prison reform charity has published a report calling for a national government strategy to better meet the needs of the UK's 1,200 older prisoners.
The Prison Reform Trust this week wrote to Phil Wheatley, the director general of prison services, calling for prisons to tailor exercise regimes, health-care facilities and rehabilitation programmes for inmates aged 60 or more.
"The population of older people in prison has grown over the past 10 years, so there needs to be a national strategy to cater for their needs," said Enver Solomon, policy officer at the campaign group.
The report, Growing Old in Prison, which will also be sent to the chief inspector of prisons, Anne Owers, and the minister for prisons, Paul Goggins, points out that older prisoners are more likely to have physical and mental health problems and to have poor family ties. It concludes by asking whether locking up more and more prisoners into their old age is of any real benefit to society.
A spokesperson for Help the Aged said: "A one-size-fits-all approach to diet, exercise, rehabilitation and medical treatment is outmoded and is, effectively, a form of age discrimination."