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Last Updated: Friday, 18 June, 2004, 07:17 GMT 08:17 UK
Charity supports older prisoners
A scheme to provide help and support for older prisoners is being trialled at a jail in Leicestershire.

The pilot project is being run over the next two years at Gartree Prison in Market Harborough.

A co-ordinator and a team of volunteers will work with prisoners over the age of 50 to promote access to their rights and discuss services within the prison.

The 50,000 scheme has been funded by Age Concern, and may be rolled out across the country if it is successful.

'Adding value'

The launch is in response to a growing number of older people joining the prison population.

At Gartree there are 400 people aged over 50, with 17 aged over 60 and three in their 70s.

Tony Donavan, executive director for Age Concern Leicester said: "There has been a growing concern about the increasing number of older people in our prisons."

Research by Age Concern in collaboration with the prison's governor, found that older people did not readily take part in prison activities.

"The reality is a lot of social, sporting-type activities that take place aren't necessarily suited to older people who can feel intimidated by them.", Mr Donavan said.

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