AIM: To explore the role of prisoner caregivers in providing peer social care to older prisoners and to identify methodological information and challenges to conducting research in prisons, to inform future research in this setting. METHOD: The literature review was conducted in two stages. In the first stage, a systematic literature review was undertaken to retrieve articles related to prisoner caregiving. The main themes from these articles were identified. In the second stage, a narrative literature review was undertaken to provide contextual and methodological information about research, which may support future research in prisons. FINDINGS: The main themes identified in the systematic literature review were: the benefits of prisoner caregiving; training needs; and the organisational implications of implementing prisoner caregiving. The narrative literature review identified a range of methodological approaches used to undertake research in prisons. Challenges to undertaking research in prisons included practical issues, the influence of power on relationships and the difficulty for researchers not to take the side of either the prisoners or prison staff. CONCLUSION: The role of prisoner caregiver is increasingly recognised as important, and is associated with several benefits to individual prisoners and the prison community. However, further training is required for prisoner caregivers, and there is a need for further research into the prisoner caregiving role, using a methodology that is suitable for the prison setting.