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The Aging Offender: Care Beyond COVID-19  

Author:  Randy Shively.

Source: Volume 23, Number 01, Winter 2022 , pp.1-5(5)

Correctional Health Care Report

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COVID-19 has presented unique challenges for corrections facilities, which have become breeding grounds for the virus. The aging offender is highly susceptible to outbreaks, given the “accelerated aging” that occurs among the incarcerated, and prisons and jails are not usually equipped to deal with the unique healthcare needs of this population. Old sentencing guidelines have increased the numbers of incarcerated aging offenders and have added to a bottleneck in releasing them. Common-sense reform is needed with a review of risk to relieve the burden on correctional systems. Integrating the elderly back into the community presents unique challenges, and collaborations among prisons, jails, community corrections, local specialty courts, and health care agencies need to occur to create safe and comprehensive programs upon reentry. Specialized training in geriatrics, mental health, and basic health care for the aged must become a priority for corrections professionals.

Keywords: Aging offender, COVID-19, “accelerated aging,” aging and reentry, specialized staff training

Affiliations:  1: Alvis.

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