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Planning Services for Elderly Inmates with Mental Illness

NCJ Number
Corrections Today Volume: 72 Issue: 3 Dated: June 2010 Pages: 52-57
Judith F. Cox; James E. Lawrence
Date Published
June 2010
6 pages
This article describes seven core challenge areas in the development and delivery of services for elderly inmates with mental illness.
Within the Federal, State, and local corrections population, a significant increase has been found in the number of elderly inmates under their care. In the early 1990s there were between 31,000 and 32,000 inmates 55 years and older held in correctional facilities. In 2008, these facilities held more than 93,000 inmates 55 years and older. This changing profile of inmates nationwide indicates an increase in health problems, creates a need for administrators to develop and modify programs and strategies focused on the special challenges of the aging inmate. This article describes seven main areas that must be addressed in planning for the needs of elderly inmates with mental disorders. They include: early detection of mental illness, access to appropriate mental health treatment services, suicide prevention, programs to support coping with loss and stress, staff training and competencies, coordinated care and planning, and reentry challenges. 3 tables, 1 figure, and 33 endnotes


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