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Defining an age cut-off for older offenders: a systematic review of literature

Helene Merkt (Institute for Biomedical Ethics, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland)
Sophie Haesen (Institute for Biomedical Ethics, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland)
Leila Meyer (Institute for Biomedical Ethics, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland)
Reto W. Kressig (University Centre for Medicine of Aging, Felix Platter Hospital, Basel, Switzerland and Faculty of Medicine, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland)
Bernice S. Elger (Institute for Biomedical Ethics, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland)
Tenzin Wangmo (Institute for Biomedical Ethics, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland)

International Journal of Prisoner Health

ISSN: 1744-9200

Article publication date: 7 April 2020

Issue publication date: 7 May 2020

466

Abstract

Purpose

In the literature, 65 years is commonly used as the age to designate an older person in the community. When studying older prisoners, there is much variation. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how researchers define older offenders and for what reasons.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors reviewed articles on health and well-being of older offenders to assess terminology used to describe this age group, the chosen age cut-offs distinguishing younger offenders from older offenders, the arguments provided to support this choice as well as the empirical base cited in this context.

Findings

The findings show that the age cut-off of 50 years and the term “older” were most frequently used by researchers in the field. The authors find eight main arguments given to underscore the use of specific age cut-offs delineating older offenders. They outline the reasoning provided for each argument and evaluate it for its use to define older offenders.

Originality/value

With this review, it is hoped to stimulate the much-needed discussion advancing towards a uniform definition of the older offender. Such a uniform definition would make future research more comparable and ensure that there is no ambiguity when researchers state that the study population is “older offenders”.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Conflict of Interests: The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.Funding: This work was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation [grant number 166043].

Citation

Merkt, H., Haesen, S., Meyer, L., Kressig, R.W., Elger, B.S. and Wangmo, T. (2020), "Defining an age cut-off for older offenders: a systematic review of literature", International Journal of Prisoner Health, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 95-116. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPH-11-2019-0060

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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