With the number of mobility devices growing all over the world, so has the number of buildings needing elevators, stairlifts and other equipment enabling free movement for those using said devices. In this blog, we have discussed how historic buildings are adding these elements, making it easier for everyone to travel through floors, staircases and otherwise difficult-to-avoid obstacles. One type of building is starting to add commercial stairlifts – and it’s somewhere you probably don’t expect…prisons.
A story posted on The Independent starts by looking at the hard numbers of prisoners being held in the UK, showing that there has been a large increase in the over-60 adults in the system since 2008. Prisons have a tough time keeping up with their health needs, especially since the buildings have remained pretty much the same since they were built – in the 19th century:
“A recent survey by the Prison Governors Association found that most prisons lacked the facilities to cope with growing numbers of elderly inmates and the issues which arose from mixing frail and elderly people with the general prison population. Kingston prison in Portsmouth was the first prison in the country to provide a specialist elderly wing, equipped with stairlifts and other adaptations. Others are likely to follow, as the elderly prison population grows.”
Although the overwhelming issue in this piece is examining why there has been a growth in elder prisoners, the above quote speaks to the changes that need to be approached when health issues and age are considered. Prisons are in the early stages of adapting structures to make mobility possible for otherwise immobile prisoners. The article says that this issue isn’t strictly within the UK – the Netherlands and a few other countries are facing this same type of growing prison population.
The type of report does have worldwide implications – do you think the United States will have to begin making these changes in its oldest prisons?