“Silver bullet” or confused greying fox? Best practice support model for older prisoners

20 Aug 2013

This paper presents a review of current literature on aged prisoners and an analysis of the USA’s aged prison populations highlighting transferable learnings for Wintringham and the Victorian Correctional system.

The number of older prisoners in Australian prisons increased by 84 percent over the past decade 2000 – 2010. This rising number and proportion of older prisoners has implications for planning, policy and service delivery across the correctional systems, with the most immediate and apparent issues facing older prisoners being related to ageing and associated declines in mental and physical health.

In Australia, the increasing levels of older and geriatric prisoners have been driven by factors which include the wider community's increasing longevity being reflected in the prison system, together with advances in forensic investigations leading to charges being laid many years after the actual offence. For whatever reason however, jails in Australia (and around the world) are now increasingly accommodating older people who have aged care needs that are currently beyond the capacity of a justice system to provide.

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