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Southern New Hampshire University
CJ-210 The U.S. Correctional System
Module 7 Notes
Age-Related Diversity in Correctional Facilities
Corrections Today, Chapter 11, “Corrections and Elderly Inmates” Section
What is the growth rate of the inmate population over the age of 50?
The aging of the prison population has come about from longer sentences resulting from
the get-tough-on-crime measures that impose in-truth-sentencing, mandatory sentences,
and three-strike laws, and an increasing number of older people convicted of sex crimes
and murder.
What are some of the issues that elderly inmates face?
Elderly prisoners are vulnerable to victimization and require special attention when it
comes to medical treatment, housing, nutrition, and institutional activities. The care of the
elderly is extremely expensive. The average cost of housing an inmate over 60 is $70,000
a year, which is about three times the average cost for other prisoners. Inmates over 50
are more likely to have health and mental health problems than noninstitutionalized
Americans because they often come from poor backgrounds, have a greater likelihood of
drug and alcohol abuse, and have more restricted access to health care.
Corrections Today, Chapter 13
How is the juvenile justice system different from the adult justice system?
Both consist of three basic subsystems and interrelated agencies. The flow of justice in
both is supposed to be from law violation to police apprehension, judicial process,
judicial disposition, and rehabilitation in correctional agencies. However, there a several
differences between the juvenile justice system and the adult justice system. These
o Juveniles can be arrested for acts that would not be criminal if they were adults
(status offenders).
o Police must take into account a child’s age when he or she is questioned.
o Age determines the jurisdiction of the juvenile court; age does not affect the
jurisdiction of the adult court.
o Parents are deeply involved in the juvenile process but not in the adult process.
o Juvenile court proceedings are more informal, while adult court proceedings are
formal and open to the public.
o Juvenile court proceedings, unlike adult proceedings, are not considered criminal;
juvenile records are generally sealed when the age of majority is reached. Adult
records are permanent.
o Juvenile courts cannot sentence juveniles to jail or prison; only adult courts can
issue such sentences.
o Juveniles are not eligible for the death penalty or mandatory life sentence (if
waived to adult court).
What is the focus of juvenile justice?
Unlike the adult justice system, the juvenile justice system is more focused on
rehabilitation rather than punishment. In addition to rehabilitation, juvenile justice
focuses on skill development, addressing treatment needs, and successful reintegration of
youth into the community.
What are some of the differences between juvenile male offenders and juvenile female
Male delinquents are more likely to form allegiances with members of their own racial
group and to attempt to exploit those outside the group.
In contrast to males in juvenile corrections, the number of females is far lower;
nationally, females account for 13 percent of juvenile offenders in residential placement.
Girls are more likely than boys to be incarcerated for status offenses, such as running
away or being sexually involved with older men and boys.
Females tend to be incarcerated for longer terms than males.
Institutions for girls are generally more restrictive than those for boys, and they have
fewer educational and vocational programs and fewer services.
Special Needs Offenders in Correctional Institutions
Who may be classified as an “older offender”?
The National Institute of Corrections defines older inmates as those 50 years of age or
older and the American Correctional Association recommends that prisoners should be
classified by level of physical impairment, regardless of age.
What are some of the challenges that prisons face when dealing with older offenders?
Frequently suffer from prison shock/difficulties in coping with late-life imprisonment.
May be estranged from families due to violent crimes committed against family
May have grief issues related to loss of family, friends, and life on the outside in general.
May experience fear associated with late-life incarceration, especially for frail vulnerable
May isolate themselves from the larger social milieu, spending much time in their cells.
May experience suicidal ideation, common among inmates entering prison with mental
health issues.
May have unrealistic expectations about prison health care often comparing with outside
Sentencing and Corrections in the 21
Century: Evidence-Based Corrections and
What are the criminogenic and non-criminogenic factors that affect rehabilitation?
Criminogenic factors are directly associated with criminal behavior. Criminogenic
factors include thoughts; attitudes; behavior regarding employment, educations, peers,
authority, substance abuse, and interpersonal relationships that are directly associated
with an individual’s criminal behavior.
Non-Criminogenic factors include disorders such as low self-esteem or depression and
are most often a result rather than the cause of a crime. Other non-criminogenic elements
include anxiety, feelings of alienation, psychological discomfort, group cohesion, and
neighborhood improvement.
What is the focus of the “new penology”?
The new penology reflects a shift away from the traditional concerns of criminal law and
criminology, which focused on the individual, and a redirection toward managing groups
of people according to the risks they pose. It replaces moral or clinical descriptions of
individuals with actuarial discussions of probabilities and statistical distributions.
What programs tend to be included in restorative justice models?
Victim-offender mediation. Offenders and victims meet with volunteer mediators to
discuss the effects of the crime and decide on restitution.
Family group conferencing. Offenders, victims, families, and other people significant in
the lives of affected individuals meet to discuss the impact of the crime and restitution.
These conferences are usually organized and moderated by criminal justice officials or
social service agencies.
Sentencing circles. Originating in Native American peacemaking, they are based on
negotiation and consensus and involve victim, offender, supporters, and community
members. The process is open to the whole community.
Reparative probation and other citizen boards. Offenders are sentenced to probation, and
a citizen board of volunteers draws up a contract, which the offender must carry out.
Key Concepts in Crime and Society, Chapter 39: Rehabilitation
In what ways does indeterminate sentencing support rehabilitation?
Indeterminate sentences are at the heart of sentencing practices. They allow the
incarceration of offenders for unspecified periods until it is determined that they are
In what ways does restorative justice support rehabilitation?
Restorative justice includes a range of initiatives designed to encourage the offender to
acknowledge their wrongdoing and take responsibility for repairing harm to the victim
and economic disadvantage.
What are some of the strengths and limitations of rehabilitation?
o Successful in reducing re-offending
o Improved social networks
o Offenders reducing or ceasing drug use
o Improved family relationships
o Can result in net-widening and harsher punishments
o Longer sentences
o Abuse of power
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