Alzheimer’s Scotland HMP Shotts Dementia Awareness day

Staff at Shotts are working hard to make it the first dementia-friendly prison in Scotland.

The prison has teamed up with Alzheimer Scotland to run workshops for staff in order to raise awareness.

The aim is to equip staff with the knowledge they need to identify dementia amongst prisoners, and help them get the support they need.

The idea to team up with the charity came following an equality and diversity team meeting.

The initiative is being headed up by Scott Cringles, Skills and Employability Unit Manager at Shotts.

Scott said, with the ageing prison population, Alzheimer Scotland were really keen to get involved because they haven’t been involved with any other prison in Scotland.  It has grown very quickly and we’ve seen some really good results.  Our aim is to become the first dementia-friendly prison in Scotland and hopefully to roll this out to others.

Staff have benefitted from information sessions run by volunteers from the charity, which included the arrival of the Alzheimer bus at Shotts which could be accessed by staff, as well as prison visitors.

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On the day, lots of information leaflets were handed out to visitors, while staff had the opportunity to visit the bus and chat to charity volunteers throughout the day.

Practical tips have also been shared with staff, including the benefits of painting doors different colours in prison halls to help inmates with dementia identify where they should be going.

Scott said staff had already benefitted from advice given by Alzheimer Scotland.

One of the signs of dementia is aggression, Scott said.  Rather than staff jumping to conclusions about prisoners’ behaviour, they might now be able to look at what’s behind this if it’s out of character and ask if there’s a pattern.  It’s a huge benefit to staff to be aware of this and it’s something that they can take home with them too, if they have older parents who might be suffering from dementia.  We are fully committed to taking this further.  

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