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Aging Elderly Inmate Population within the Correctional System - Coursework Example

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The paper "Aging Elderly Inmate Population within the Correctional System" highlights that the issue of “graying inmates” is a serious one. It, also, is abundantly obvious that a solution must be agreed upon before the cost of not finding one becomes too high. …
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Aging Elderly Inmate Population within the Correctional System
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Download file to see previous pages The facilities are not equipped to handle the needs of aging inmates; nor are they often prepared for the health conditions that come with them. Finding a solution to this problem is difficult because some require financial investments, and others bring serious ethical issues and controversial debate. Description In order to weigh this issue at hand it is important and necessary to understand what an aging prisoner is and what it means to be a “graying” inmate. The age limits as to who is an aging prisoner differ in varying countries, but the average age is approximately 50. This may seem young; however, experts explain that incarcerated individuals are about 10 years older than their chronological age due to their time in the system. Aging inmates, also, are prone to the same health problems that are associated with aging. As the numbers of these inmates grow more and more penitentiaries are less and less prepared to meet those needs. In one facility, the Bath Institute, in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, there are more than a third of the inmates are over the age of 50. (Weinreb, 2011) Where did such a huge number of aging inmates originate? It is theorized that the primary cause of the increase is due to stricter mandatory minimum sentencing requirements that Canada had adopted. These requirements led to more incarcerated prisoners and longer overall sentences. (Bracken) Many may be considered to be an aging inmate before they are even up for their first option for parole under the guidelines of the stricter mandatory sentencing. These inmates face multiple issues involving their safety, health and security in a system that was not designed to accommodate an aging population. Issues The first major issue to be considered when dealing with the topic of aging inmates is to acknowledge the level of danger they are in from other inmates. Prison is not a pleasant place; it is not supposed to be. It is a place of punishment and loss of privileges. Inside prisons fights and outbursts of violence are common and not surprising. However, aging inmates become targets for younger, often healthier, inmates who can take full advantage of a disadvantaged opponent. (Weinreb, 2011) The second major safety concern involves those inmates who because of age or illness do have the mobility that they once had. Being able to maneuver in an environment, like a prison, could make some areas of the facility less accessible to them. The correctional system is tremendously unprepared for a large physically dependent number of aging inmates. Despite the potential needs of the correctional system it is difficult to gain a lot of support and funding to improve the quality of life for aging prisoners when there are so many other social issues of consequence to non-incarcerated individuals. Solutions Although a number of solutions have been debated, as yet, a definitive solution has yet to be completely decided upon or fully implemented. In 2006 Canada placed initiatives to increase the care available at facilities provided to aging inmates, as well as, employ physicians with more knowledge of the health needs of aging adults. However, unfortunately, the initiative has, “never seen the light of day.” (Crawford, 2012) There are three primary solutions that are logical and feasible, but each one, also, has opponents that argue against them. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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