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J Am Acad Psychiatry Law. 2006;34(3):333-7.

Commentary: older offenders--no place to go?

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  • 1Townsend Division, St. Andrew's Hospital, Northhampton, UK.


For offender groups, difficulties in definition of 'elderly' and 'older' are considerable. Adoption of chronological age cutoffs gives little indication of service need. Contrary to popular belief, there has been no upsurge of offending among people of 60 and over, but there has been an increase in their representation in the prison population. Older prisoners tend to have more mental and physical health care needs than younger prisoners and than their similarly aged peers in the community. Their needs may be more appropriately met in health care rather than criminal justice services. Neither health care nor criminal justice services, however, have yet made adequate specific provision for this group. Our commentary reviews current evidence for more appropriate and safer service responses.

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