Growing Old Behind Bars: One Woman's Experience

Lori Farney, Middle Tennessee State University

The increase in the number and proportion of an unprecedented aging prison population represents one of the most dramatic changes in American correctional system. Although the older female offenders comprise a small percentage of the total prison population, their numbers are growing. With this growth comes the need to better understand the lives of this special prison population. Using a single case study approach, this paper examines the realities of "aging in place" as an older women. Issues discussed will include the devalued identity, mental and physical health issues, anxieties about death and sexuality, and the general coping strategies used by this 60 year old respondent residing in a southern prison to survive as an incarcerated lifer.

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Updated 05/20/2006