Aging Offenders in Prison

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Aging Offenders in the Prison System

Daniel Trombley

American Military University

Professor Spivey

CMRJ316 Corrections and Incarceration

August 10, 2013

An aging offender or an elderly offender is an individual over the age of 55 who breaks the law or is in prison (Newman). It is also a term that can refer to the concept of an aging prison population or to the unnatural pressures of being incarcerated that accelerate the aging process. Oddly, the number of elderly individuals committing crimes and being sentenced to prison is increasing and that creates problems for the correctional facilities in terms of health care as well as mental and physical issues that the inmates themselves have. Unfortunately, little seems to have changed in the past 30 years regarding elderly inmates. Health care is absolutely a major concern. In many countries including the United States, elderly inmates do not qualify for state funded healthcare. The United States National Institute of Corrections identified that inmates over 60 years old cost three times more than those of a younger age to house in prison. (Aday, 2003) Issues such as chronic health conditions or ailments require constant care as well as continual medication to ease the physical or mental problems. Certain administrative bodies of these institutions claim that medical care for the elderly prisoners is the most costly problem of the aging prison structure. A survey that was conducted of criminals over the age of 55 that were imprisoned for the first time had higher levels of stress and a greater difficulty to adjust. This is both due to the culture shock and to the fact that these first time offenders had led a long, criminal-free life. (Chaneles, 1989) Most find it more difficult to come to terms with breaking the law. Elderly inmates also…...

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