The link between incarceration and health is of emerging empirical interest to criminological scholars. Yet, we still know little about the needs of the rising population of older prisoners and the health issues they face. By drawing on qualitative data gathered from 193 interviews with older men incarcerated across three U.S. prisons, I examine the specific health promotion strategies available to, and used by, these men through a cultural health capital framework. Findings show that older prisoners make deliberate choices to protect their health from the constraints and deprivations inherent in their carceral lives. In the hopes of better managing chronic and acute disease, the strategies prisoners reference include acquiring medical information, making food and diet modifications, and health advocacy. Notably, the mobilization of cultural health capital is situated within a context of privilege, leaving important implications for both incarcerated individuals and correctional administrators.
Meghan A. Novisky
Criminology, 13 July 2018