The number of old inmates in Swiss prisons doubled between 1984 and 2008, according to a study by the Swiss National Science Foundation.
Researchers concluded that the institutions were not adequately prepared for this and suggested separating older prisoners from other inmates for social and health reasons.
In 2008, 302 people over 50 were behind bars – 11.2 per cent of all inmates. Of these, 103 were over 60.
The increase was put down mainly to inmates who were growing old in prison.
The study said one of the main challenges facing all older prisoners was the limited life ahead of them – the concept of a new beginning after being let out gets harder the older one is.
They also face the prospect of physical problems, which can make carrying out everyday tasks or completing work duties more difficult.
The researchers recommended penal institutions take measures to adapt to the situation by setting up accommodation that corresponds to older prisoners’ needs.
swissinfo.ch and agencies