Aging in the prison system Public concern n

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Aging in the prison system

Aging in the prison system

Public concern: n n Growing public concern about victimization and its impact on individuals,

Public concern: n n Growing public concern about victimization and its impact on individuals, families and communities Politicians, criminal justice officials and a substantial majority of the public in Western nations favour greater use of longer prison terms

Prison Reform n Prime Minister Harper’s priorities: n n increased automatic prison terms impose

Prison Reform n Prime Minister Harper’s priorities: n n increased automatic prison terms impose minimum jail sentences

Canada’s 54 Federal Penitentiaries n n n 12, 700 prisoners serving two years or

Canada’s 54 Federal Penitentiaries n n n 12, 700 prisoners serving two years or more Staff and Inmates cost about $1. 8 billion per year Increasing numbers of aged

Reasons for Incarceration n Homicide as most serious offence: 25% for all other age

Reasons for Incarceration n Homicide as most serious offence: 25% for all other age categories n 33% for those age 50 – 59 n n Sexual Offence as most serious offence: 16% for offenders under the age of 50 n 62% for offenders 65 and over n

Incarceration cont’d Most serious current offence by age category (M. Gal unpublished Doctoral thesis)

Incarceration cont’d Most serious current offence by age category (M. Gal unpublished Doctoral thesis) Under 50 5054 5559 60 -64 65+ Homicide 23. 3 27. 7 32. 9 25. 6 24. 1 Sex 16. 0 30. 1 38. 8 51. 2 62. 4 Assault 14. 5 9. 7 6. 9 4. 1 2. 3 Robbery 22. 4 12. 3 7. 6 5. 8 2. 3 Other violent 4. 0 2. 8 3. 6 2. 3 3. 0 Nonviolent 19. 8 17. 4 10. 2 11. 1 6. 0 Total number of cases 8, 972 528 304 172 133

Long term sentences n n Between 1981 and 1991 the age of long term

Long term sentences n n Between 1981 and 1991 the age of long term offenders increased from 35 years to almost 38. homicide offenders must serve at least 10 years and up to as many as 25 years before parole eligibility

Refitting prisons n n The fiscal impact of an aging prison population on medical

Refitting prisons n n The fiscal impact of an aging prison population on medical services alone is staggering. Managing a correctional institution which contained persons with Alzheimer’s is virtually inconceivable

Mental health concerns n n n The prevalence rates of mental health problems among

Mental health concerns n n n The prevalence rates of mental health problems among older offenders are mixed Some studies have shown that older offenders have greater social, psychological and physical health needs than younger offender Others indicate that older offenders have fewer mental health concerns

Depression n n Older offenders were more neurotic, less psychotic and exhibited less anti-social

Depression n n Older offenders were more neurotic, less psychotic and exhibited less anti-social symptomatology than younger offenders The strain of incarceration produces an accelerated deterioration in both the physical and mental health status of the elderly

Depression cont’d n Older offenders who view their situation negatively or as hopeless are

Depression cont’d n Older offenders who view their situation negatively or as hopeless are at increased risk for developing depression

Stress factors n A review of definitions of stress concluded that events labelled as

Stress factors n A review of definitions of stress concluded that events labelled as stressful are changes in the environment, the individual’s appraisal of the situation and the person’s perceived ability to cope with the environment through the utilization of resources, such as social support

Stressors for the older offender n n Having limited control, as in the case

Stressors for the older offender n n Having limited control, as in the case of incarceration Loss of loved ones and friends Lack of a supportive social network Abrasive interactions with other inmates

Physical stress results n The following physiological problems have been related to increased levels

Physical stress results n The following physiological problems have been related to increased levels of stress: n n increases in blood pressure, cholesterol, pulse rate, blood sugar, and incidences of peptic ulcers Can place the older offender at increased risk for infectious diseases and illnesses

Offenders with mental health and disabilities n May have intellectual disabilities, mental health disabilities

Offenders with mental health and disabilities n May have intellectual disabilities, mental health disabilities and speech disorders n n 20 per cent have a mental illness and five to eight per cent are seriously mentally ill Have no chance for “gradual release” that most able-bodied prisoners have access to

Treatment solutions and struggles: n ‘Dispersal’ is one of the correctional policy debates concerning

Treatment solutions and struggles: n ‘Dispersal’ is one of the correctional policy debates concerning long-term inmates n n Concentrating v. s. dispersing long term offenders throughout the prison Environmental needs of many long-term prisoners, especially older persons, are different

Matching needs of long-term offenders n n n Treating them as a separate group

Matching needs of long-term offenders n n n Treating them as a separate group with unique needs, but integrating long-termers with other offenders; Recognizing the heterogeneity of the population; Providing life-sentence offenders with a sense of purpose and direction; Using a variety of physical settings Being flexible rather than rigid in security designations

Reintegration Effort for Long-term Infirm and Elderly Federal Offender (RELIEF) n The RELIEF program

Reintegration Effort for Long-term Infirm and Elderly Federal Offender (RELIEF) n The RELIEF program grew from a collaborative effort between offenders, community volunteers and service staff for offenders who could not care for themselves

Relief goals and objectives n n n To provide a safe reintegration option for

Relief goals and objectives n n n To provide a safe reintegration option for elderly/infirmed offenders To provide safe, secure, humane care for offenders at a dependent stage of their life To provide care giving in a correctional setting that follows the same standards of care and practices established in the community To train selected offenders to provide care To establish and maintain responsible care teams

Conclusions and Direction n Older offenders are primarily incarcerated for violent offences Older offenders

Conclusions and Direction n Older offenders are primarily incarcerated for violent offences Older offenders more commonly used a firearm or harmed someone they knew while committing their offences Older offenders tend to cause psychological harm while younger offenders cause physical harm to their victims

Health issues of older offenders n n Abusive drinking and drinking related issues Multiple

Health issues of older offenders n n Abusive drinking and drinking related issues Multiple chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease n the percentage of these chronic conditions incrementally increases from 46% for offenders aged 50 to 54 to 79% for offenders aged 65 and older

Seven recommendations to effectively manage older offenders 1. Medical teams in prisons take geriatric

Seven recommendations to effectively manage older offenders 1. Medical teams in prisons take geriatric courses 2. Medical teams obtain comprehensive physical and psychosocial case histories and provide follow-up 3. Incorporate funds for rehabilitative therapy and prosthetic devices into budgets 4. That panels of physicians meet regularly to review medications 5. Provide therapeutic diets and exercise programs 6. Consider dispensing vitamins as needed 7. Increase frequency of parole reviews for older offenders

How are we doing: n n Currently older institutions are being fitted for handicap

How are we doing: n n Currently older institutions are being fitted for handicap cells and ramps Relief Programs are growing Medical staff are becoming more aware of older offenders All the material presented is the result of corrections planning

Do we treat our aged with respect?

Do we treat our aged with respect?