Prisoners that are serving sentences within correctional facilities can be housed in special populations. Contributing factors for these special groups are health conditions and reasons for their imprisonment. These special groups are made up of the following: sex offenders, prisoners with AIDS, long-term prisoners, and elderly prisoners.
The inmates doing time for sexual offenses, such as rape or child molestation, need to be separated from the general prison population, as many prisoners view these actions to be revolting. According to Bartollas, if these prisoners are not housed in protective custody, they themselves are likely to become victims of rape, brutality, and homicide.
Inmates with AIDS often are shunned by other prisoners and prison staff. An inmate with AIDS is avoided whenever possible. These inmates require various forms of medical treatment and they must come to terms with the fact that they might die in prison (Bartollas, 2002).
Long-term prisoners are also referred to as “lifers.” These are the prisoners that have been given life sentences. Lifers tend to create solid groups amongst themselves and are involved in service projects. As Bartollas states, these prisoners spend their time engaged in projects such as recording books for the blind, donating blood, and preparing clothing and canned food for victims of natural disasters.
Elderly prisoners are vulnerable to victimization and require special attention as far as their medical treatment, housing conditions, nutrition, and institutional activities. These inmates also face the outlook of dying in prison. The elderly prisoners may be moved into another unit with other elderly prisoners—“age-mates” (Bartollas, 2002).
Bartollas, C. (2002). Invitation to corrections, Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon