Pensioners Behind Bars

Pensioners Behind Bars


This is one of those oddly life-enhancing documentaries that could have been a tale of woe but instead puts a smile on your face.

It teases out the stories of half a dozen confessional over-60s who have grown old disgracefully. Among them is John, a teetotal churchgoer who, in an unlikely career change, became a heroin dealer at the age of 74. And there’s Adele, 66, whose account of how her massage business attracted the wrong kind of customer, giving her a lucrative sideline as a madam, makes it sound like a series of regrettable accidents. For her there was no happy ending.


Retirement is usually a period to take things easy and enjoy a well-earned rest, but in the past 20 years the number of over-60s imprisoned has trebled. This documentary meets some of those who have been jailed for their offences, as well as career criminals who have hit pensionable age while serving time. They include 70-year-old Gerry Dennis and brother Roy, 69, who have served seven sentences between them, 77-year-old heroin dealer John Douglas, and father-of-five Trevor Cairns, 62, who was caught in possession of cannabis and black-market cigarettes.