'They just throw you out': release planning for older prisoners

Katrina Forsyth, Jane Senior, Caroline Stevenson, Kate O'Hara, Adrian Hayes, David Challis, Jenny Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Older prisoners are the fastest growing incarcerated sub-group. They have more complex health and social care needs than both younger prisoners and their age-matched peers living in the community. Prisoners who have been recently released are at enhanced risk in terms of their physical and mental health. Consequently, there is a need for timely, multi-disciplinary release planning. The aim of this study was to explore the health and social care needs of older male adults discharged from prison into the community. Qualitative interviews were carried out with prisoners with four weeks left to serve (N=62), with follow-up interviews conducted four weeks after release (N=45). Participants were selected from nine prisons in the North of England. The constant comparison method was used to analyse the data. Older prisoners perceived release planning to be non-existent. There was a reported lack of formal communication and continuity of care, causing high levels of anxiety. Older prisoners experienced high levels of anxiety about the prospect of living in probation-approved premises; however, those who did go on to live in probation-approved premises had their immediate health and social care needs better met than those who did not move into such accommodation. Release planning for older prisoners is generally inadequate and there is currently a missed opportunity to address the needs of this vulnerable group. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAgeing and Society
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2014


  • health care
  • older people
  • prison
  • prisoners
  • release planning
  • social care


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