Page last updated at 15:31 GMT, Friday, 14 December 2012

Peer raises plight of older prisoners

Few prisons are equipped to deal with the healthcare needs of older prisoners, a crossbench peer has claimed.

Speaking in a debate on the place and contribution of older people in society on 14 December 2012, Lord Ramsbotham said that people can age prematurely while in prison and suggested that social services should be made responsible for elderly prisoners.

Lord Ramsbotham referred to a report by Dame Ann Owers, who followed him as chief inspector of prisons, entitled: "No problems - old and quiet." He said the title came from a real prisoner's case file.

Lord Ramsbotham added that older ex-prisoners are also "more likely to have health problems… have less income and have problems finding work".

The motion for debate was tabled by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and asked for the House to take note of "the place and contribution of older people in society".

Summing up for Labour, shadow leader of the Lords Baroness Royall of Blaisdon praised the work of older members of society in the House of Lords but pointed out that, unlike some other older people, she and her fellow peers were "both privileged and cosseted".

The average age of members of the Lords is 69. There are 111 members aged between 80 and 89, and 12 aged 90 or over.

The Upper House has only 25 members aged 49 or younger.

One of those younger peers, Baroness Warsi, summed up for the government, saying: "The changing demography of the UK means that the contribution of older people in society is more important than ever."

You can watch part one of the debate here.

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