Ms. Judith Wahl - Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE). Toronto, ON, CA

Ms. Judith Wahl Ms. Judith Wahl

Executive Director | Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE)

Toronto, ON, CA

Judith Wahl is the Executive Director at the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly.

How can we help older people in prison?

How can we help older people in prison? 2018-01-31
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Prof. Sarah Harper Ms. Judith Wahl Dr. Jane Barratt

In Canada, one in four inmates are 50 years of age and older and considered to be in the ageing category. To many, 50 may seem young to be considered 'ageing' but "you can [essentially] add… 10 years to [a person's] chronological age" because poor physical and mental health is much more common behind bars.

The Correctional Service of Canada has been working on a strategy to better address this growing population. The current correctional investigator, Adam Zinger, noted that not only is this age cohort the most expensive to incarcerate, they are also a group that poses one of the lowest risks of re-offending.

The older prison population is going to increase even more in the coming years, due to tough-on-crime mandatory minimum sentences. This changing demographic means that correctional facilities will see a rise in prisoners with dementia, chronic illnesses, and cancer, as well as a higher rate of natural deaths behind bars.

Alternatives to traditional prisons are needed because these current correctional facilities are not built to accommodate older people, according to Laura Tamblyn Watts who is a senior fellow and staff lawyer at the Canadian Centre for Elder Law.

Will this new Canadian strategy provide solutions that promote healthy ageing in prisons? Can it suggest alternatives to traditional incarceration for this ageing population?

That is where the experts from the International Federation on Ageing come in. Click on one of the icons above to arrange an interview with an expert today.


Aging inmates: correctional service of canada has strategy in the works

Canada’s prison population is getting greyer, and the correctional service of canada expects to soon complete a strategy for how to deal with aging inmates.