Mental Health, Aging and Palliative Care in Prisons


Project design

IPS_Innovative Prison Systems


11/2016 – 11/2018 (24 months)

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Improving the quality of mental health and palliative care in prisons

Mental health conditions are especially prevalent among the incarcerated population, which presently amounts to about 10 million, worldwide. These mental health issues are exacerbated by age, as over 20% of adults aged 60 and over suffer from a mental or neurological disorder. The number of incarcerated elderly is increasing at an exponential rate: at a rate three times that of the general prison population.

In this context, this project aims to increase the response to mental health disorders within prisons and the quality of palliative and end of life care provided in prisons, by enhancing the competences of management and frontline staff.


  • Belgium
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • The Netherlands


  • Erasmus+ Programme, KA2 – Strategic Partnerships for Adult Education


Develop pedagogical materials and learning processes that support the training of staff and the training trainers in the field of mental health care and geriatrics in prisons.

Develop and pilot a “train the trainer” course for prison professionals (blended learning) so that they can be able to train continuously their colleagues on mental health care and the needs of older prisoners.

Develop and pilot a training course targeting first line prison administrators and first-line prison staff on basic mental health and age-related health issues.

Develop and pilot a training course targeting first line prison staff on the recognition and prevention of suicides.

Raise awareness within prison staff, prisoners and their families through information and educational materials about mental health issues, and the risk of suicide and self-harm (including awareness of times of risk: when prisoners may be at risk of particular distress and anxiety).

Enhance cooperation with community health care providers and NGOs through referral of mentally ill inmates to local or regional mental health care organisations to ensure access to that can provide further evaluation and treatment after incarceration or during community probation measures.

Raise the awareness of policy makers and judicial staff (namely judges and prosecutors) about the problem of mental health disorders, palliative, end of life care, ageing and its consequences to prison systems.

Expected outcomes

A training toolkit.

A training guide with detailed competences and skills and indicators (blueprint).

Comprehensive training courses, namely: “mental health and suicide prevention”, “geriatrics in prisons” and “palliative care in prisons”.

A course manual, open-source and usable in all partnership countries' languages.

An e-learning course and a “train the trainer” course.

Five national seminars and an international seminar.

Three short-term transnational staff training courses, involving 24 participants each (one team from each country).

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