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Sociology (131)
SOCI 304 (30)
Lecture 13

SOCI 304 Lecture 13: Week 13 Notes

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SOCI 304
Williamson Monica

Aging Inmates Aging Inmates Aging inmate population growth Since the twenty first Century, theres been an upward trend in the growth of Americas prison population The aging prison population is projected to increase further due to the aging population growth in general, determinate sentencing guidelines, and lengthy sentences for drug offenses With roughly 30 of Americans attributable to the category of 50 years of age and older it is possible to isolate similar trends within the prison population Well aging inmates arent rapidly growing part of the US prison population, there has been little attempt at explaining why Americas prisons are graying (getting older) Correctional institutions are reactive Instead of proactive when it comes to the needs of the aging inmate population With scarce theoretical guidance, ad hoc programming for aging inmates has been implemented Symptoms of aging manifest much earlier in inmates then for those outside of prison due to preprison lifestyles, low socioeconomic status, minimal if any access to medical care, and complex medical histories (NIC Videoconference 2001; Rikard Williams 2004; Aday Farney 2014) Aging male inmate characteristics (William Rikard 2004) 50 years old are over Low socioeconomic status Inadequate healthcare over the life course History of substance abuse Under educated and unmarried Aging female inmates (Williams forthcoming; Williams Rikard 2004) With a disparate amount of programs for females when compared to those for males, most options available to aging female inmates were created through patriarchal lens When aging female inmates have access to programs, those programs were created for males and extended to females without taking the unique needs of female into consideration Making gender theory a priority explains why gender responsiveness is necessary, ultimately preventing the creation of policies and programs that are designed for males and forcing those policies and programs onto females Making gender a theorized phenomenon allows research to more fully understand why gender differences occur and why this is a significant event of concern The needs of aging females are not identical to those of their male counterparts Programs and policies must be examined and incorporated at the prison level not simply as an aside to social cohesion Womens studies also neglected the aging process o Due to overwhelming inequalities, such as reproductive rights, economic and workplace, disparity, and violence against women, feminist have lost focus when it comes to those women in later life (Cruickshank 2013) While feminist theories have saturated other disciplines, gerontology (study of aging) has not benefited from a feminist influence A major reason that aging has not received the attention it deserves is because to study aging brings it to question the researchers own mortality (Cruickshank 2013) o While this oversight may prove to be incidental, the ramifications of such an act are disastrous to an already forgotten group of women
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