Health and Wellbeing Needs of Older Male Prisoners
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Introduction: Older men aged 50 years and over are the fastest-growing cohort in the prisons of the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK). This reflects wider demographic change, such as increased life expectancy, as well as harsher sentencing policies, and an increased eagerness of courts to pursue historical offenses particularly relating to sexual crimes. Research has shown that older men in prison often experience poorer physical health than younger prisoners and those with similar age in the general public. However, to date, no such study has explored the health-related needs of older men held in Northern Ireland prisons. The aim of this research was to explore the health and wellbeing needs of older men held in custody in Northern
Method: A questionnaire was completed by 83 men aged 50 years or over, who were in prison in Northern Ireland in 2016. Comparisons were made with similar community-based surveys.
Results: The data showed that on many indicators, older prisoners experience worse health than their peers living in the community.
Conclusion: These findings suggest that there is a need for appropriate healthcare planning for older men in prison which recognizes how their health may differ from other age cohorts within prison, as well as from those living outside a custodial establishment.
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