In June 2013, the number of prisoners in England and Wales aged over 50 was over 10,000, representing about 12% of the prison population (Ministry of Justice (MOJ), 2013a). Whilst prisoners aged 30-39 still comprised the largest age group, between 2002 and 2013, prisoners aged 60 or over were the fastest growing age group (130% increase) followed by those aged 50-59 (104% increase).
This report summarises findings from sample 2 of Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction (SPCR), a longitudinal cohort study of 2,171 adult prisoners sentenced to between 18 months and four years in 2006 and 2007. It focuses on the needs and characteristics of 115 older prisoners (aged 50 and over) on reception to custody compared to 2,056 younger prisoners (18 - 49 years old). Whilst a degree of caution should be taken in extrapolating findings due to the small numbers, this study suggests older prisoners may have some unique needs which should be considered in targeting resources.