Although there continues to be some debate about the general effectiveness of prisons, there is considerable evidence of their impact on reoffending rates where pensioners are concerned. Indeed, recidivism among over-65s is well below 4%, and this falls to less than 0.2% for those aged 90 or over at the time of release.
To take advantage of this, the forward-thinking Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has developed a twin-strand approach to imprisonment, either imposing sentences sufficiently long to ensure any convicted person will be over 65 before they’re due for release or issuing suspended sentences to everyone aged under 65 and automatically reactivating them when the offender has reached pension age.
By 2040, the aim is to have a prison population almost entirely made up of pensioners, at which point, prisons will be reclassified as care homes and the amortised costs of social care and penal institutions will be reduced by more than £36 billion per year. Former care homes, in both the public and private sector, will be converted into luxury apartments, spa hotels and interactive museums to generate a further £23 billion. By 2050, the cumulative savings are projected to be in excess of £380 billion and this will then be redirected to the HS2 project, to help complete the first phase of construction from Euston to West Ruislip almost 15 miles (24.1 kilometres) away.