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Supporting America’s Aging Prisoner Population

The aging of the prison population has implications for the quality and type of services they receive in the correctional system, as well as for reentry services since the vast majority of prisoners return to the community at some point. In terms of care for aging prisoners within the correctional systems, considerations include the need for a physical infrastructure within the prison facility that supports people as they age (accessible cells, grab bars, alternatives to bunk beds), programming geared for older inmates (employment, skills training, recreation), health needs (addressing physical and mental health conditions, medication management), prison workforce needs (additional staff may be needed to provide personal care assistance with bathing, dressing and moving around the institution). There is also support needed when older inmates are paroled or prepare to return to the community to ensure successful reentry into society and prevent recidivism. Access to services such as transportation and housing, assistance finding employment, connection with a social support system, access to physical and mental health care, and help with signing up for benefits are important factors in a successful reentry

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