The Relationship Between Age And Correctional Programs: Do older prisoners take part?

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferenceUnpublished abstract


Introduction: Prisons from all over the world are faced with an increasing population of older people. Although the proportion of older prisoners is increasing, their needs are seldom taken into account in designing correctional programs (e.g. sport activities, (vocational) education, socio-cultural training courses, mental health care). However, research has shown the importance of participation in these programs. The purpose of this study is to get insight into participation of older prisoners.

Methodology: Based on a quantitative survey this study investigates the relationship between prisoners’ age and participation. Data from 486 prisoners from one prison in the Northern part of Flanders (Belgium) are analyzed. In order to answer the research questions bivariate and regression analyses are performed.

Results: The regression analysis shows that the older prisoners were, the less likely to participate. The bivariate findings indicate that older prisoners (50+) participated more in none or only one correctional program compared to younger (18-25 years) and middle-aged prisoners (26-50 years). Older prisoners appealed more to mental health care services compared to younger prisoners. Sport activities and vocational training reached mainly younger prisoners. Considering educational courses, older prisoners participated less than the middle-aged prisoners, but more than the youngest. Finally, there was no significant relationship between attending a socio-cultural training course and a prisoner’s age.

Conclusion: Age is an overall determining factor for participation, but this relation depends on the kind of program. The article concludes by discussing some practical and policy recommendations to increase the access of older prisoners to these programs.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event68th Annual Scientific Meeting Gerontological Society of America - Orlando, United States
Duration: 18 Nov 201522 Nov 2015


Conference68th Annual Scientific Meeting Gerontological Society of America
CountryUnited States


  • older prisoners
  • participation

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