Coming home: Health status and homelessness risk of older pre-release prisoners

Brie A. Williams, James McGuire, Rebecca G. Lindsay, Jacques Baillargeon, Irena Stijacic Cenzer, Sei J. Lee, Margot Kushel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Older adults comprise an increasing proportion of the prison and homeless populations. While older age is associated with adverse post-release health events and incarceration is a risk factor for homelessness, the health status and homelessness risk of older pre-release prisoners are unknown. Moreover, most post-release services are geared towards veterans; it is unknown whether the needs of non-veterans differ from those of veterans. OBJECTIVE: To assess health status and risk of homelessness of older pre-release prisoners, and to compare veterans with non-veterans. DESIGN/PARTICIPANTS: Cross-sectional study of 360 prisoners (≥ 55 years of age) within 2 years of release from prison using data from the 2004 Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities. MAIN MEASURES: Veteran status, health status (based on self-report), and risk of homelessness (homelessness before arrest). KEY RESULTS: Mean age was 61 years; 93.8% were men and 56.5% were white. Nearly 40% were veterans, of whom 77.2% reported likely VA service eligibility. Veterans were more likely to be white and to have obtained a high school diploma or GED. Overall, 79.1% reported a medical condition and 13.6% reported a serious mental illness. There was little difference in health status between veterans and non-veterans. Although 1 in 12 prisoners reported a risk factor for homelessness, the risk factors did not differ according to veteran status. CONCLUSIONS: Older pre-release prisoners had a high burden of medical and mental illness and were at risk for post-release homelessness regardless of veteran status. Reentry programs linking pre-release older prisoners to medical and psychiatric services and to homelessness prevention programs are needed for both veterans and non-veterans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1038-1044
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of General Internal Medicine
Volume25
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2010

Fingerprint

Homeless Persons
Prisoners
Veterans
Health Status
Prisons
Veterans Health
Self Report
Psychiatry
Cross-Sectional Studies

Keywords

  • health status
  • homelessness risk
  • older prisoners
  • pre-release prisoners

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

Cite this

Williams, B. A., McGuire, J., Lindsay, R. G., Baillargeon, J., Cenzer, I. S., Lee, S. J., & Kushel, M. (2010). Coming home: Health status and homelessness risk of older pre-release prisoners. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 25(10), 1038-1044. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-010-1416-8

Coming home : Health status and homelessness risk of older pre-release prisoners. / Williams, Brie A.; McGuire, James; Lindsay, Rebecca G.; Baillargeon, Jacques; Cenzer, Irena Stijacic; Lee, Sei J.; Kushel, Margot.

In: Journal of General Internal Medicine, Vol. 25, No. 10, 10.2010, p. 1038-1044.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Williams, BA, McGuire, J, Lindsay, RG, Baillargeon, J, Cenzer, IS, Lee, SJ & Kushel, M 2010, 'Coming home: Health status and homelessness risk of older pre-release prisoners', Journal of General Internal Medicine, vol. 25, no. 10, pp. 1038-1044. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-010-1416-8
Williams, Brie A. ; McGuire, James ; Lindsay, Rebecca G. ; Baillargeon, Jacques ; Cenzer, Irena Stijacic ; Lee, Sei J. ; Kushel, Margot. / Coming home : Health status and homelessness risk of older pre-release prisoners. In: Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2010 ; Vol. 25, No. 10. pp. 1038-1044.
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N2 - BACKGROUND: Older adults comprise an increasing proportion of the prison and homeless populations. While older age is associated with adverse post-release health events and incarceration is a risk factor for homelessness, the health status and homelessness risk of older pre-release prisoners are unknown. Moreover, most post-release services are geared towards veterans; it is unknown whether the needs of non-veterans differ from those of veterans. OBJECTIVE: To assess health status and risk of homelessness of older pre-release prisoners, and to compare veterans with non-veterans. DESIGN/PARTICIPANTS: Cross-sectional study of 360 prisoners (≥ 55 years of age) within 2 years of release from prison using data from the 2004 Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities. MAIN MEASURES: Veteran status, health status (based on self-report), and risk of homelessness (homelessness before arrest). KEY RESULTS: Mean age was 61 years; 93.8% were men and 56.5% were white. Nearly 40% were veterans, of whom 77.2% reported likely VA service eligibility. Veterans were more likely to be white and to have obtained a high school diploma or GED. Overall, 79.1% reported a medical condition and 13.6% reported a serious mental illness. There was little difference in health status between veterans and non-veterans. Although 1 in 12 prisoners reported a risk factor for homelessness, the risk factors did not differ according to veteran status. CONCLUSIONS: Older pre-release prisoners had a high burden of medical and mental illness and were at risk for post-release homelessness regardless of veteran status. Reentry programs linking pre-release older prisoners to medical and psychiatric services and to homelessness prevention programs are needed for both veterans and non-veterans.

AB - BACKGROUND: Older adults comprise an increasing proportion of the prison and homeless populations. While older age is associated with adverse post-release health events and incarceration is a risk factor for homelessness, the health status and homelessness risk of older pre-release prisoners are unknown. Moreover, most post-release services are geared towards veterans; it is unknown whether the needs of non-veterans differ from those of veterans. OBJECTIVE: To assess health status and risk of homelessness of older pre-release prisoners, and to compare veterans with non-veterans. DESIGN/PARTICIPANTS: Cross-sectional study of 360 prisoners (≥ 55 years of age) within 2 years of release from prison using data from the 2004 Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities. MAIN MEASURES: Veteran status, health status (based on self-report), and risk of homelessness (homelessness before arrest). KEY RESULTS: Mean age was 61 years; 93.8% were men and 56.5% were white. Nearly 40% were veterans, of whom 77.2% reported likely VA service eligibility. Veterans were more likely to be white and to have obtained a high school diploma or GED. Overall, 79.1% reported a medical condition and 13.6% reported a serious mental illness. There was little difference in health status between veterans and non-veterans. Although 1 in 12 prisoners reported a risk factor for homelessness, the risk factors did not differ according to veteran status. CONCLUSIONS: Older pre-release prisoners had a high burden of medical and mental illness and were at risk for post-release homelessness regardless of veteran status. Reentry programs linking pre-release older prisoners to medical and psychiatric services and to homelessness prevention programs are needed for both veterans and non-veterans.

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