American Journal of Medical and Clinical Sciences. 2021; 6(2):(49-71)


High Medical Risk and Low Criminogenic Risk: What is the Price?

Vasiliki Georgoulas-Sherry and Hanna G. Hernandez

Abstract

When exposed to confinement, aging incarcerated individuals are exposed to risk factors (e.g., dietary limitations, exposure to violent behavior, stressful conditions) that accelerate the progress of chronic illnesses, and cognitive and physical disabilities [1]. This rapid progression subsequently produces a high health and medical need for these aging incarcerated individuals which poses maximum financial and ethical concerns. However, research has also shown that this aging population is less likely to recidivate, which produces a minimal threat to public safety [2]. As these medical and health impacts continue to be associated with the aging incarcerated population, further understanding of this population, who are significantly costly but less criminogenically risky, must be considered.

A quasi-experimental design was utilized to evaluate the medical and mental health 
impacts of the aging incarcerated population through an aging and non-aging cohort (N = 17,833) from a mid-sized correctional department. Findings revealed significant differences in health care encounters (e.g., dental, medical, nursing, mental health), health care claims and costs, and health service codes by custody level and criminogenic risk level suggesting that aging incarcerated individuals with low criminogenic risk in low custody are more likely to initiate dental, medical, and nursing encounters a well as health claims and costs, than their younger and riskier counterpart. Studies like this one are beneficial as they provide consideration to policy changes focusing on the geriatric population, attention to the aging population’s physical and mental health, and investigate innovative approaches for dealing with health and mental health issues of the aging inmates.

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