The Experiences of Older Adults in the Legal System

Edie Greene and Sheri C. Gibson

in Stress, Trauma, and Wellbeing in the Legal System

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199829996
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199301492 | DOI:

Series: American Psychology-Law Society Series

The Experiences of Older Adults in the Legal System

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During the 20th century, the population in the U.S. tripled whereas the population of adults age 65 and older increased eleven-fold. One consequence of increased longevity is a rise in the number of older adults who have contact with the legal system as aging prisoners, victims in criminal cases, and individuals with impaired decision-making capacity. We examine each of these issues here. In the criminal realm, we address the myriad physical and psychological consequences of long-term incarceration on aging inmates, describe various forms of elder abuse, and explore the impact of intimate partner and financial abuse on older adults. In the civil realm, we examine the effects of removing decisional autonomy from incapacitated older adults. On each topic, we describe and analyze interventions currently in use, suggest areas for further research, and provide policy recommendations for ongoing refinement of the ways that older adults interact with the legal system.

Keywords: stress; trauma; wellbeing; courts; legal system; elders; older adults; innovations

Chapter.  11809 words. 

Subjects: Criminal and Forensic Psychology

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