The high cost of the international aging prisoner crisis: Well-being as the common denominator for action

Tina Maschi, Deborah Viola, Fei Sun

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    72 Scopus citations


    The aging prisoner crisis continues to gain international attention as the high human, social, and economic costs of warehousing older adults with complex physical, mental health, and social care needs in prison continues to rise. According to the United Nations, older adults and the serious and terminally ill are considered special needs populations subject to special international health and social practice and policy considerations. We argue that older adults in prison have unique individual and social developmental needs that result from life course exposure to cumulative risk factors compounded by prison conditions that accelerate their aging. We position these factors in a social context model of human development and well-being and present a review of international human rights guidelines that pertain to promoting health and well-being to those aging in custody. The study concludes with promising practices and recommendations of their potential to reduce the high direct and indirect economic costs associated with mass confinement of older adults, many of whom need specialized long-term care that global correctional systems are inadequately equipped to provide.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)543-554
    Number of pages12
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Aug 2013


    • Advocacy
    • Aging prisoners
    • Elder justice
    • Human rights
    • Long-term care
    • Prison/prisoner
    • Wellbeing

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Gerontology
    • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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