Aging and mortality in the state prison population

Over the past 20 years, while state prisoners sentenced more than one year grew by 55%, the number of imprisoned inmates ages 55 or older increased by 401%. In 2013, prisoners ages 55 or older accounted for 9.9% of the sentenced prison population, up from 3.1% in 1993. The changing age structure in U.S. state prison population has implications for the future management and care of inmates, including increased costs associated with healthcare for older inmates, as well as mortality rates. We will discuss the causes behind the aging of the state prison population, compare the rates and causes of state prisoners’ deaths to the U.S. general population post-adjustment for age, sex and race differences, and examine the mortality profile of older inmates.

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E. Ann Carson
Margaret Noonan
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