Older prisoners

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The term older prisoners is used by the U.S. Department of Justice and/or state departments for corrections when referring to individuals that are 50 years of age and older. Conventionally, individuals are not usually classified as having reached old age until they reach the age of 65, but correctional facilities recognize individuals age 50 and above as older because of the few prisoners age 65 and above.[citation needed]

Older prisoners arguably age faster than their cohorts on the outside of the institution as a direct result of chronic, long-term diseases and a history more accustomed to drug and alcohol abuse. 8.6 percent of the total U.S. prison population is age 50 or older, and the average age for those considered to be older prisoners is 57.[1]

With both incarceration rates and the nation's population higher than ever and stricter sentences being prescribed to perpetrators, the number of older prisoners is on the rise. The demographics, particularly race, of older prisoners resemble those of their younger peers, being that African Americans are disproportionately represented in making up nearly five and a half times of the prison population than their white counterparts make up.[2][3][4]

The most commonly contracted diseases during incarceration share similar diagnoses to those outside of the institutions; however, the rate at which they afflict older prisoners is escalated significantly - 25% compared to their free cohorts not confined to prison environments.[5] Psychiatric conditions are claimed to be detrimental to older prisoners where, specifically, rates of depression are higher and tend to have a lifelong lasting effect in a large percentage of older prisoners.[6][7][8][9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hooyman, Nancy R. and H. Asuman Kiyak (2011). Social Gerontology: A Multidisciplinary Perspective, ed. 9, p 481. Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN 9780205763139.
  2. ^ Aday, R.H. (2006). Aging Prisoners. B. Berkman and S. D'Ambruoso (eds.). Handbook of Social Work in Health and Aging. Oxford Press. ISBN 9780195173727.
  3. ^ Harrison, P.M. and A.J. Beck (2006). Prisoners in 2005. Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin. NCJ 215092, 7-8.
  4. ^ Loeb, S.J. and A. AbuDagga (2006). Health-Related Research on Older Inmates. Research in Nursing and Health, 29, 556-665.
  5. ^ Hooyman, Nancy R. and H. Asuman Kiyak (2011). Social Gerontology: A Multidisciplinary Perspective, ed. 9, p 481. Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN 9780205763139.
  6. ^ Loeb, S.J. and A. AbuDagga (2006). Health-Related Research on Older Inmates. Research in Nursing and Health, 29, 556-665.
  7. ^ Mitka, M (2004). Aging Prisoners Stressing Health Care System. Journal of the American Medical Association, 292, 423-424.
  8. ^ Regan, J.J., and A. Alderson, and W.M. Regan (2002). Psychiatric Disorders in Aging Prisoners. Clinical Gerontologist, 26, 8-13.
  9. ^ Williams, B.A. (2006). Being Old and Doing Time: Functional Impairment and Adverse Experiences of Geriatric Female Prisoners. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 54, 702-707.