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The Growth of Older Inmate Populations: How Population Aging Explains Rising Age at Admission

Jeremy Luallen, Christopher Cutler, Abt Global


August 25, 2015
Older inmates are the fastest growing segment of the prison population; however, the reasons for this are not well understood. One explanation is that the general population is aging, driving prison age distributions to change. For this article, we study the role of population aging in prison growth by investigating how the baby boom phenomenon of post-World War II has contributed to the growth of older inmate populations.

We identify the impact of population aging using simulation methods that explain prison growth as the combination of criminal justice processes.

Overall, we find evidence that population aging has played a significant role in explaining the growth of older inmate populations, in particular among inmates aged between 50 and 64 years, contributing to as much as half of the observed increase in these groups since 2000.
North America