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Senior Citizens Behind Bars: Challenges for the Criminal Justice System

John J. Kerbs and Jennifer M. Jolley, editors
Senior Citizens Behind Bars: Challenges for the Criminal Justice System
ISBN: 978-1-62637-042-5
ISBN: 978-1-62637-492-8
2013/287 pages/LC: 2013031580
Also of interest: Women Aging in Prison: A Neglected Population in the Correctional System by Ronald H. Aday and Jennifer J. Krabill
"An excellent resource for both beginning and seasoned researchers.... The text [also] provides a veritable road map for social workers interested in working in this field."—John R. Barner, Research on Social Work Practice

"Provides important insights into how older prisoners are treated in prison and how costs associated with older prisoners is a reality that many prisons must deal with."—Melissa Garmo, International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice

"Groundbreaking.... The authors have produced a book that fully addresses all of the issues surrounding older inmates, and they have done so in a way that is engaging and informative. This book is a must-read."—Brian K. Payne, Old Dominion University


Within two decades—if not sooner—at least one in three prisoners in the US will be a "senior citizen." Our prisons, however, were designed for a much younger population. Senior Citizens Behind Bars critically explores the unique set of challenges that older prisoners pose for the criminal justice system.

Examining the lack of fit between the needs of older inmates and the correctional policies and practices that govern efforts to meet those needs, the authors confront such tough issues as health care, inmate victimization, and end-of-life care. Their rigorous, evidence-based analysis of both problems and solutions is a seminal contribution carefully designed for scholars and practitioners alike.


John J. Kerbs is associate professor of criminal justice at East Carolina University (ECU). Jennifer Jolley is research scientist in ECU’s Office of Healthy Aging Research, Education, and Services.


  • A Path to Evidence-Based Policies and Practices—the Editors.
  • Sentencing Policy and the Shaping of Prison Demographics—K. Auerhahn.
  • Bio-Psycho-Social Needs—M.E. Leigey.
  • Social Programming and Activities—R.H. Aday and J.J. Krabill.
  • Women and Issues of Care—J.M. Jolley, J.J. Kerbs, and J.F. Linder.
  • Prisoners' Rights and the Law—N. Kanaboshi.
  • The Age-Segregation Debate—A.N. Blowers, J.M. Jolley, and J.J. Kerbs.
  • The Implications of Age-Graded Desistance—J.J. Kerbs and J.M. Jolley.
  • Health Issues and End-of-Life Care—J.F. Linder.
  • Community Reentry and Aging Inmates—K.R. Blevins and A.N. Blowers.
  • Future Considerations—the Editors.