Elderly inmates: issues for Australia


As is the case with Australia’s population in general, Australia’s prison population is ageing. The number of prisoners over 50 years of age is increasing—either because people are entering prison relatively late in life, or because they are serving longer sentences and growing old in prison.

This poses new challenges for Australian correctional administrators. Older prisoners may be expected to experience more health problems than their younger counterparts, and the cost of keeping them in custody will be that much greater. Problems may arise from their presence in an environment comprised predominantly of younger men. And older prisoners released into the community after many years in prison may face difficulty in adjusting to life on the outside, particularly if they are without family or friends.

This paper discusses demographic changes in Australia’s prison population and their implication for Australian correctional management.