I recently read an article (link here) about the rapidly growing number of elderly prisoners currently incarcerated. This article references a 104 page report documenting the statistics and living conditions for elderly prisoners. A few key points jumped out to me:

  • Despite efforts from facilities to develop units for prisoners suffering from dementia or other progressive cognitive impairments, their capacity is too small for the expected growth in the near future.*
  • A small study showed 20% of prisoner’s age 65 and older reported physical attacks and assaults from primarily younger prisoners—citing a serious risk for elderly victimization*

But the big takeaway was this quote here:

“Another problem lies with the absence of staff specifically tasked with supervising the needs and treatment of older inmates.”*

With everything else that happens on a daily basis in any correctional facility, it’s an incredible undertaking to provide further specialized care to a growing population. And the rapid increase of the aging prisoner population dictates a need for more corrections staff to be trained to handle the needs of their senior population.

Here are links to both the news article as well as the cited report:

US: Number of Aging Prisoners Soaring

Old Behind Bars: The Aging Prison Population in the United States