This week on the weekly news round-up for the 14th Global Conference on Ageing, the IFA is spotlighting Dr Bruce Stevens (Wicking Professor of Ageing and Practical Theology, Charles Sturt University, Canberra, Australia), who will be presenting his research on “Old Behind Bars: A Systematic Review of International Services to Those in Prison.”
Abstract Summary: Internationally, older people are the fastest growing segment of the prison population. There are contributions from mandatory minimum sentences, longer sentences for serious crimes, and a reluctance to release some offenders back into society. Older prisoners are a diverse group including:
- first time offenders
- aged recidivist,
- serving long or life sentences
- incarcerated for short periods late in life.
With such a diversity of the older prisoner population, it is hard to have a single response to this complex problem. Obviously this is a vulnerable and often victimized group of people. This presentation will report on a systematic review of programs for the aged in prison. The results of the study indicated that there are inadequate resources for ageing prisoners in facilities built for much younger people. How does a person in a wheel chair get down stairs to enter the court-yard? How can he or she use a walking stick or walking frame when such objects might be considered potential weapons? The issues continue with medical and mental health needs (naturally both are more prevalent inside). There is a potential for victimization. This is especially the case when sex offenders, who tend to be older when convicted and are among the most stigmatized in our society. There has been report of prisoners expecting payment to provide basic assistance to aged offenders. But there were surprises – in a somewhat bleak picture there were instances of good practice.
About Dr Stevens: Dr Bruce Stevens was born in the USA, but has spent most of his life in Australia. Dr Stevens served in parish ministry as an Anglican minister in the parishes of St John’s Reid, an associate in Church of the Redeemer in Boston and rector of St Pauls Millis, then Holy Covenant, Jamieson. In 1993, Dr Stevens went into private practice as a clinical psychologist and continued with honorary ministry at St James Kippax and All Saints Ainslie. Dr Stevens also founded Canberra Clinical and Forensic Psychology in Canberra City. In the last five years, Dr Stevens was the convenor of the clinical psychology training program at University of Canberra and in February 2015, came to CSU/St Mark’s as Wicking Professor of Ageing and Practical Theology and director of CAPS.
To read Dr Stevens’ systematic review of aged care interventions for older prisoners*, click here.
* Article courtesy of the Australasian Journal on Ageing