The rise in the number of older prisoners in many nations has been described as a correctional “ageing crisis” which poses an urgent financial, medical and programmatic challenge for correctional health-care systems. In 2016, the International Committee of the Red Cross hosted a conference entitled “Ageing and Imprisonment: Identifying the Needs of Older Prisoners” to discuss the institutional, legal and health-care needs of incarcerated older adults, and the approaches some correctional facilities have taken to meeting these needs. This article describes some of the challenges facing correctional systems tasked with providing health care to older adults, highlights some strategies to improve their medical care, and identifies areas in need of reform. It draws principally on research and examples from the United States to offer insights and recommendations that may be considered in other systems as well.
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4 Williams, Brie A., Goodwin, James S., Baillargeon, Jacques, Ahalt, Cyrus and Walter, Louise C., “Addressing the Aging Crisis in U.S. Criminal Justice Health Care”, Journal of the American Geriatric Society, Vol. 60, No. 6, 2012 .
5 Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), Prisoners Series: 1990–2010, US Department of Justice (DoJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Washington, DC, available at: http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbse&sid=40.
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8 BJS, above note 6; BJS, Prisoners in 2015, DoJ, OJP, Washington, DC, December 2016, available at: www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/p15_sum.pdf.
9 B. A. Williams et al., above note 4.
10 Aday, Ron H., Aging Prisoners: Crisis in American Corrections, Praeger, Westport, CT, 2003 .
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14 Ibid .
15 Ahalt, Cyrus, Binswanger, Ingrid A., Steinman, Michael, Tulsky, Jacqueline and Williams, Brie A., “Confined to Ignorance: The Absence of Prisoner Information from Nationally Representative Health Data Sets”, Journal of General Internal Medicine, Vol. 27, No. 2, 2012 .
17 Office of the Inspector General, above note 7.
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22 A. Coyle, above note 21.
23 US Supreme Court, Estelle v. Gamble, Case No. 75-929, Judgment, 30 November 1976.
24 Ibid .
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26 Ibid., p. 4.
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76 The Sentencing Project, “Incarcerated Women and Girls”, Fact Sheet, Washington, DC, 2015, available at: www.sentencingproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Incarcerated-Women-and-Girls.pdf.
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140 Office of the Inspector General, The Federal Bureau of Prisons' Compassionate Release Program, US Department of Justice, Washington, DC, 2013, available at: https://oig.justice.gov/reports/2013/e1306.pdf.
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148 Human Rights Watch, above note 97.
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155 M. Ewing, above note 108.
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159 Meera Sheffrin, Cyrus Ahalt, Irena Stijacic Cenzer and Brie A. Williams, “Geriatrics in Jail: Educating Professionals to Improve the Care of Older Inmates”, presented at the American Geriatrics Society Annual Conference, Long Beach, CA, 2016.
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163 Office of National Drug Control Policy, “Alternatives to Incarceration”, The White House, Washington, DC, available at: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/ondcp/alternatives-to-incarceration.
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