7.1: Aging Without Bars
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Aging Without Bars is a six-week person-centered training that helps inmates age 50 and older prepare to transition to the community. It addresses inmates’ lack of awareness of available resources by providing education and connecting them to case management services prior to their release, when possible. The program is implemented through a collaboration of Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) and jail intake staff, as well as community partners. The AAA became engaged in this area after the 2008-2012 Virginia 4-Year Plan for Aging Services ranked the older prisoner population as among the top areas of concern.
Measuring impact is a priority of this program. There is a pre-test and a post-test follow-up with each participant to assess what they have learned and to help calibrate the person’s needs moving forward. Evaluation of the program indicates that improvements have occurred across each of the performance measures: housing and economic stability, mental and physical health, and social supports. Inmates have shared that this is a life-changing program for them and have commented that they feel less invisible and forgotten as a result of their participation.