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HM Prison Littlehey

Her Majesty’s Prison Littlehey is a Public Sector prison situated in the heart of Cambridgeshire. It holds 1220 offenders accommodated on 13 residential units. Two of the units are identified as Older prisoner Units holding men over the age of 60. The prison is a category C ‘closed’ prison and works in partnership through a multi-agency approach to provide a safe, decent and constructive regime that challenges offending behaviour, reduces re-offending and prevents further victims. To do this we provide a wide range of work provision including accredited vocational training ranging from basic and key skills to degree level learning; there is also production and domestic work and offending behaviour programmes.

6 August 2016
East of England

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA 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?

The prison service is housing a rapidly increasing number of older people. HMP Littlehey has a large population of older men and is adapting by providing accommodation set aside and aimed at meeting the needs of older people. By doing this we have created a sense of community. Caring for those with dementia is just one of the aspects of having an older community that the prison is learning to gear its services towards. We have strong peer helper schemes and good relationships with partners in the health and social care sectors who help to deliver an increasing level and standard of care. Our staffing group and peer helpers are undertaking dementia awareness training to help them understand how to deliver care for those diagnosed with dementia. This has encouraged greater understanding and awareness amongst staff and has encouraged peer helpers to foster companionship with those diagnosed with dementia.

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

Like all Public sector organisations, the competing demands on resource and budget are ever present but we believe that these do not need to be barriers to delivery of some key improvements. We are constantly looking for ways to innovate and our main focus for dementia is increasing communication with partner agencies and looking for ways to use our peer helpers to make daily lives better for those living with dementia. Basic changes to the environment can be made with minimal cost and effort but can make a big difference to someone with dementia. Increasing awareness for staff and prisoners is also a key part of our strategy. 

2. Actions

  • Raising Awareness amongst staff and prisoners

    We hold dementia awareness sessions for staff and prisoners who are part of peer schemes. In addition to increasing understanding the sessions encourage dialogue between staff and prisoners about how to overcome the barriers unique to dealing with dementia effectively in a custodial setting.


    Two wings have been designated for Older Prisoners and those with complex health needs. Some adaptations have been made to make the environment more friendly for people with dementia – for example, care has been taken to ensure doors and stairways are painted in contrasting colours, flooring is plain and non slip, seating has been placed sympathetically around the residential wing and along commonly travelled routes.

    We are undertaking a review of signage with the aim of making changes to assist prisoners with dementia in navigating around the complex.


    Organising events designed to bring staff, prisoner peer workers and partners from the local authority and charitable organisations. This achieves a number of goals; increasing awareness, identifying gaps in provision, encouraging partnership working, acknowledging progress and good practise, encouraging positive dialogue around overcoming barriers. The first event, a conference entitled ‘Prisoners assisting other prisoners’ took place in July 2016 and featured keynote speakers from the local authority (adult social care, Occupational therapy, sensory care, advocacy, end of life care) and Alzheimer’s society among others, with 35 delegates in attendance.