The older adult population in the U.S. will grow dramatically in the next several decades. This population aging will also occur within the criminal justice system. These aging populations require a new and different public discourse regarding government policy and services addressing the needs and desires of both the general population and the correction-based population. Capable workforces trained with geriatric-centered knowledge and skill-sets are required to meet the needs of these aging populations. While faculty of schools of social work are preparing gerontological social workers, faculty of departments of criminal justice are just beginning to recognize and face this change in the correctional populations. A possible solution to meet these growing needs and demands is for social work and criminal justice faculty to collaborate on building a capable workforce able to work with both sets of older adults. This paper presents findings of an exploratory, qualitative study investigating the perceived skills and training needed to serve the growing elder population in the criminal justice system. This study explored the perceptions of criminal justice faculty pertaining to the changing views toward aging and geriatrics in the criminal justice field, and among criminal justice academics. Through content analysis, themes emerged inferring interprofessional, geriatric education is necessary for disciplines that work with older adults. Findings identified the need for interdisciplinary practice, research and educational collaboration between social work and criminal justice professionals. Findings also point to implications for public policy discussions and changes concerning institutional-based and community-based services, and compassionate care.
PUBLIC POLICY HEALTH SOCIAL PROGRAM COMMUNITY SUPPORT
Public Policy and Public Perspectives on Aging
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session
Lecturer of Social Work, Department of Criminal Justice and Social Work, University of Houston-Downtown