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Over the past few years the number of older people in prison in many countries has been increasing rapidly. Although we have known for many years that both incarceration and older age are associated with an increased burden of disease, we have not well understood the prevalence of Non-Communicable Disease (NCDs) in older people in prison.
Last week we published our research that for the first time has calculated pooled prevalence rates for many NCDs such as; Cancer, Hypertension, Diabetes and Cardio-vascular Disease among older people in prison. This involved undertaking a meta-analysis of prevalence data on 28 NCDs from almost 100,000 individual older prisoners from across the world. The prevalence rates demonstrate a high burden of disease in this population. For example; Hypertension prevalence was 39% and diabetes 14%, both significantly higher than in younger prisoners and age-matched community peers.
The physical environment of incarceration and the services that exist within many prisons are often poorly suited to meet the needs of older people. This research demonstrates the high level of disease they experienced and provides helpful insight for both Practitioners and Policy makers alike as they seek to best support the growing number of older people within this vulnerable population.