The health needs of the elderly members of Britain's prison population may require the development of care home prisons, says a new report.
The Prison Reform Trust study highlighted a growing number of prisoners who are over 60 years old, whose health needs cannot continue to be met by the present system.
The number of people being locked up rose to record levels earlier this year, and the over sixties are the fastest growing age group in prison in England and Wales.
Older inmates have significantly different health needs to younger ones, and the Prison Reform Trust has indicated that the USA may have shown how best to ensure they have the services they need.
Care home prisons have been established in the USA for its large number of elderly prisoners, and as the Government looks into expanding prison capacity it is now being urged to consider specialist prisons with appropriate health services for old age prisoners.
While the Government is making efforts to reduce prison overcrowding with tagging and non custodial sentences for some crimes, many of the oldest prisoners were sentenced to long jail terms for sexual or violent crimes and would not be suitable for such measures.