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federal correctional system, mental health, Canada, s. 12


This article is based on a quantitative study investigating the quality of life of older Canadian prisoners. For this study, social science methodology was used to answer certain legal questions, such as: what are the mental health issues of older male offenders and how are these needs influencing the exercise of their legal rights? Are institutions prepared to deal with the increased needs of older offenders? If no, is this an infringement of this group's rights? In this article, the mental health problems of older offenders are first outlined. Second, the legal, policy, and institutional limitations in responding to these problems are described. Based on these findings, it is maintained that a change in the treatment of older offenders is needed. Third, statutory and constitutional challenges are explored. If change does not come voluntarily, it is the duty of the courts to have a flexible and open-minded approach toward different actions that challenge the current prison regime.