Aging behind bars – Older inmates in US correctional facilities

Madeleine Niepceron
ARC621 | Spring 2020

According to the BJS (Bureau of Justice Statistics), more than 131 000 inmates in US prisons are aged 50 or more, which represents more than 10% of the total prison population. These numbers are increasing rapidly, and the older prison population keeps growing. We know that life in prison can be hard for anyone, thus the purpose of this report is to study what additional challenges older inmates might have to face when aging in prisons.

This report explores the way US prisons are designed, and what issues people aging in such settings can face when it comes to accessibility, safety, and health promotion (looking at both mental and physical health). In particular, the report focuses on the shared spaces of prisons: exterior spaces or outdoor activity spaces, cafeterias, TV rooms, etc, with the objective to verify whether these spaces are prepared (or not) to accommodate aging people.