Elder Incarceration

Japan’s elder population outpaces most countries—seniors comprise nearly 30% of citizens—and support services and social structures have not kept up with the demographic shift. Gaps in community safety nets mean many seniors are finding refuge in the criminal justice system—in prison, they have 24-hour care and fewer worries about money or loneliness.

Women are leading the trend—1 in 5 incarcerated women is a senior—and most commit petty crimes like theft, sometimes recidivating several times over.

“I enjoy my life in prison more. There are always people around and I don’t feel lonely here,” says 80-year-old “Ms. N.”

Bloomberg Businessweek

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