Older prisoners: Challenges for inmates and prison management

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There is considerable evidence pointing towards the growth of older prisoner populations in Australia. This article presents findings from the first large-scale study of older prisoners in Australia (N = 173), examining functional independence, aspects of the prison environment which present difficulties for less able older prisoners, the uptake of prison programs and social functioning from the perspective of older prisoners. Results indicate that 22 of prisoners aged 50 years and older required assistance in day-to-day tasks, and that bunks, stairs and bathroom facilities presented the greatest difficulties for older inmates. The majority of older prisoners (77 ) engaged in prison work and approximately one half of those nearing release had attended offending behaviour programs. Prisoners aged 65 years and older were more likely to describe social disconnection, were more likely to be experiencing functional impairments and victimisation in prison, and those experiencing functional impairment were more likely to report feeling unsafe in prison compared to prisoners aged 50 to 64 years. Implications for corrections planning and prison management are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200 - 218
Number of pages19
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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