January 27, 2012

Recommendations

To State and Federal Governments

  • Review sentencing and parole/release policies that drive the burgeoning number of older prisoners to determine what modifications could reduce the population of elderly prisoners without appreciable risk to public safety.

To State and Federal Corrections Officials

  • Undertake a comprehensive analysis to determine whether, and to what extent, older prisoners are being provided adequate housing, medical care, and programs that respond to their unique needs and vulnerabilities. Develop comprehensive plans for the current and projected populations of older prisoners based on the needs assessment to protect their fundamental rights.
  • Review custody and security rules and their implementation to ascertain which impose unnecessary hardship on older inmates and adopt appropriate modifications to those rules. In conducting the review, consult with older incarcerated men and women directly, through surveys or group meetings.
  • Provide training for corrections officers working with older persons, including training in changing physical and mental conditions, and appropriate means of communication.
  • Monitor older prisoners to ensure they are not being victimized, and take the potential for victimization into consideration in housing decisions.
  • Ensure that a senior official has the specific responsibility for monitoring, assessing, and advocating for improvements in confinement conditions for older prisoners.