RECOOP promotes the care, resettlement and rehabilitation of older prisoners, offenders and ex-offenders, in particular those over the age of 50, in particular but not exclusively through the provision of support services, advocacy, financial advice, mentoring on issues such as employment and training, and advice on housing and health, enabling them to take control of their lives and remain free from offending, and preventing them from becoming socially excluded.
- 30 October 2014
- South West
- Care, Other, Communication
1. Action Plan
1. The National Dementia Declaration lists a number of outcomes that we are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?
We are a charity working in prisons with older prisoners, specifically those over the age of 50. RECOOP delivers direct services to prisoners to improve their health and well-being, and to provide support in their preparation for resettlement back into the community. We deliver a number of services and interventions including mental health clinics and older prisoner Forums to highlight issues and challenges for this group living in a difficult environment.
RECOOP also provides a national capacity building project (funded by the National Offender Management Service) where we are working with prisons and probation trusts to increase their collaborative working with third sector organisations. Our aim is to increase the range of services available to older prisoners and offenders by building links with community organisations. This work includes the development of supportive resources, best practice tools and training development for those working with this group. Raising awareness of the aging process and needs of this older population is key in ensuring early intervention so that appropriate adjustments can be made.
2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?
Within the prison system there is little media attention, focus or will to increase services for older people. There is no consistent approach within prisons to screen older prisoners or provide easy access to a doctor for an assessment or referral to be made. Care plans are not mandatory and reasonable adjustments for those suffering with dementia are not easy to introduce.
Prison officers’ knowledge of mental health, dementia and the aging process is often limited. No training has previously been provided nationally for officers working in this area.
Few want to work within this field or are able to find suitable funding to develop support services for older offenders .
There is no national policy relating to the treatment of older prisoners, and the issues are not clearly defined in the National Dementia Declaration Action Plan, despite the high level of need with this hard to reach group.
To support prisioners with dementia
Increase the range of interventions provided within our direct services across South West prisons to support those prisoners with Dementia.
Training service on dementia awareness
Offer an enhanced older prisoner buddy training service across all prisons to include a dementia awareness element.
Resoures and links available to support partners and prisons
Continue to build the resources and links available on our website to support partners and prisons working with older prisoners and offenders.
Mentally stimulating activities offered to prisons across England and Wales
Increase the number and range of guest speakers and mentally stimulating activities offered to prisons across England and Wales.
Research best practices relating to the care of people living with dementia
Research best practice procedures and practices relating to the care of people living dementia within prisons and continue to promote and make these available to the wider prison estate.
Develop and pilot a training package
Develop and pilot a training package on understanding the aging process for prison, probation and third sector staff working with those over the age of 50.