A Compassionate approach: Inclusive prison design that embraces aging

As the prison population changes important site, it is more important than ever that prisons have inclusive designs. Inmates are graying, which highlights the need for prisons that can not only confine inmates but also provide care to those nearing the end of their lives.

As you stroll through this facility, you’ll notice the smooth, polished floors have been replaced by textured ones that are more comfortable underfoot. Here, there’s a soft warmth that acknowledges the fact that mobility is available in different shades.

We find that the accommodations speak a language of empathy. Beds are placed lower to the floor, toilets are raised to meet users, and emergency buttons are located within arms reach to ensure help is always close. The idea is to offer independence along with assistance and acknowledge that comfort should not be discounted because of age.

Likewise, healthcare also adjusts its rhythms in order to match the slower pace of the aged heart. Geriatricians are employed in medical units, as they understand the unique challenges that older bodies face. Air here is filled with a different kind of urgency that reflects the pace of their patients.

But inclusive design does not stop with the physical. There are programs and activities that engage the aging spirit and mind, from garden projects to book clubs that bring back memories. It is a holistic embrace. “You are seen. Your years are acknowledged. And they matter.”

It is not a nice-to have; it is a must. As the life sentence extends into old age, it becomes imperative for the society to adapt and offer environments that honor the passage of the time, as well as the humanity associated with it.

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