Search for a cost-effective and socially acceptable solution to the aging prison population

THE CONTINUING PROBLEM OF AMERICAS AGING PRISON POPULATION

AND THE SEARCH FOR A COST-EFFECTIVE AND SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE MEANS OF ADDRESSING IT

Click here for full PDF essay

https://elderlyrelease.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/eldercost-pdf-curtin.pdf

Timothy Curtin

intro

The United States has the highest reported incarceration rate in

the world with more than 2.1 million inmates,6 about 10% of whom

are over fifty-five years-of-age.7 Fifty-five is a critical age; at first

glance it seems too young to be characterized as “elderly,” but prisoners

are an unusual group.8 Unsurprisingly, prison inmates often have

a history of drug and alcohol abuse.9 If an inmate comes from an impoverished

background, he may have had only limited access to

health care prior to incarceration.10 Along with the rigors of prison

life, these factors give many inmates a physiological age ten to fifteen

years older than their contemporaries.11 Most of the literature that

considers the health-damaging effects of prison life in combination

with the lifestyle and poor health care of many inmates prior to incarceration

suggests that age fifty-five or even fifty be considered elderly

for prisoners.

Timothy Curtin is Articles Editor 2007–2008, Member 2006–2007, The Elder Law Journal;
J.D. 2008, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; B.A. 1996, Loyola University
of Chicago, Political Science and Economics

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