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NCJ Number: 68856 Find in a Library
Title: ELDERLY OFFENDER AND PAROLE
Journal: PRISON JOURNAL  Volume:59  Issue:2  Dated:(AUTUMN-WINTER 1979)  Pages:48-57
Author(s): N D WIEGAND; J C BURGER
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 10
Type: Statistics
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: PENNSYLVANIA'S PROJECT 60 WAS DEVELOPED TO DEAL WITH THE PROBLEMS THAT ARE SPECIAL TO THE OLDER OFFENDER, INCLUDING PRERELEASE AND POSTRELEASE ASSISTANCE.
Abstract: GERONTOLOGISTS AGREE THAT THE CHIEF STRESSES OF OLD AGE ARE LOSS OF INCOME, ROLE, AND STATUS; BEREAVEMENT; ISOLATION THROUGH DISABILITY; AND LOSS OF COGNITIVE FUNCTIONS. PROJECT 60 DEALS WITH THE CHRONIC OFFENDERS WHO HAVE SPENT 30-40 YEARS IN AND OUT OF PRISON AND THE OVER-60-YEARS-OLDS WHO COMMIT A FIRST OFFENSE AFTER A LIFETIME OF BEING LAW ABIDING CITIZENS. OLDER OFFENDERS TEND TO COMMIT MORE CRIMES OF VIOLENCE AND ARE PRONE TO ALCOHOL-RELATED OFFENSES. IN PRISON, THEY ARE LONERS, OFTEN VICTIMS, AND MADE UNCOMFORTABLE FROM THEIR VERY REAL OLD-AGE AILMENTS, THE PRISON DAMPNESS, AND THE USE OF STAIRS. BECAUSE THE INSTITUTIONAL PROGRAMS ARE NOT GEARED FOR OLDER INMATES (EDUCATIONAL, VOCATIONAL, AND RECREATIONAL PROGRAMS ALL ARE GEARED TO THE 20-TO-40-YEAR-OLDS), AND OLDER INMATES TEND TO BE QUIET AND COMPLACENT, PAROLE BOARDS OFTEN OVERLOOK THEM. PAROLE BOARDS LOOK FOR INMATES WHO PARTICIPATE IN PROGRAMS, CAN GET JOBS ON RELEASE, AND CAN FIND HOMES ONCE ON PAROLE. MOREOVER, OLDER INMATES HAVE A HIGH RATE OF RECIDIVISM. HOWEVER, PROJECT 60 FEELS THAT OLDER INMATES CAN BE REHABILITATED BECAUSE THEY NEED TO FIND PEACE WITH THEMSELVES AND A PERSONAL RESOLUTION TO THEIR LIVES; THESE ARE POWER MOTIVATING FACTORS. MANY ELDERLY PAROLEES RECIDIVATE BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO ASSISTANCE UPON RELEASE, AND IN THE UNFAMILIAR OUTSIDE WORLD, THEY OFTEN PANIC. INSTITUTIONS MUST RECOGNIZE THEIR PREJUDICE AGAINST THE ELDERLY INMATES AND DESIGN EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS THAT ARE AIMED AT THE PHYSICAL, EDUCATIONAL, AND EMOTIONAL LEVELS OF THE ELDERLY. RECREATION MUST INCLUDE PLAYING CARDS AND CHECKERS, TAKING WALKS, PLAYING SHUFFLEBOARD, AND ENJOYING APPROPRIATE MUSIC AND MOVIES. HOUSING SHOULD BE THE LEAST DAMP AND NOT INCLUDE STAIRS. ASSOCIATION AMONG OLDER INMATES IS ENCOURAGED. MEDICAL NEEDS MUST BE RECOGNIZED. FINALLY, MORE PRERELEASE AND POSTRELEASE ASSISTANCE MUST BE GIVEN TO THESE ELDERLY INMATES SO THAT THEY CAN ADJUST TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD WITH A MINIMUM OF DIFFICULTIES. FOR PROJECT 60, ONLY 25 PERCENT OF THEIR CLIENTS END UP ON WELFARE OR SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME. FOOTNOTES ARE PROVIDED.
Index Term(s): Habitual offenders; Inmate Programs; Inmate statistics; Older Adults (65+); Older inmates; Parole; Pennsylvania
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=68856

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