Vulnerable Population Paper
Community settings are comprised of different types of populations. Some communities may be comprised of a population of middle-aged individuals, retirees, or single families. No matter where one lives there are also vulnerable population integrated throughout. Vulnerable population is defined as persons with diminished autonomy, those who are compromised in their ability to give informed consent. Groups often identified as vulnerable include children, homeless individuals, fetuses, the mentally handicapped, prisoners, and the economically or educationally disadvantaged. Vulnerability, however, may also characterize students, employees, patients in emergency rooms, and institutionalized persons. Vulnerability depends on context or circumstances. (Porter, 1996). A vulnerable population who one may not consider is prisoners. This paper will focus on the prison population, the description of prisoners, health and social problems, and community and nursing interventions. Ethical implications and current strategies to break the cycle of vulnerability will also be addressed. A Prisoner is defined as any individual involuntarily confined or detained in a penal institution. The term is intended to encompass individuals sentenced to such an institution under criminal or civil statutes. Individuals detained in other facilities by virtue of statutes or commitment procedures, which provide alternatives to criminal prosecution or incarceration in a penal institution. Also, includes individual’s detained pending arraignment, trial, or sentencing (University of Florida, 2007). The residential nature of the detention is critical for example, someone ordered to a residential substance abuse treatment program as an alternative to prison would be considered a prisoner, but those ordered to a similar treatment program but residing in the community would not be considered a prisoner. Understanding who may classify as a prisoner and a vulnerable population gives revelation on the stereotypical definition of a prisoner. Prisoners, due to their vulnerability are at an immense exposure to a significance of problems. The major problem presently is the overpopulation of the correctional systems. Residents, public officials, and the community as a whole needs to be aware of this predicament and the statistics of prisoners not just locally, but also nationally. Locally 60% of people admitted to prison in Arizona lived in Phoenix and Mesa area. Number of women admitted to Arizona state prisoners increased 60% in the last 6 years twice the rate of male admission. Arizona prison population increased by 52% over the last 10 years, this increased has contributed to the overpopulation crisis. Arizona already faces a shortfall of thousands of prison beds to house its inmate population, and a new report projects that population will grow by more than half its current size over the next 10 years. The draft of the initial report said the current inmate population of approximately 35,000 could rise to levels between 43,576 and 56,660 by 2017, depending on prison admission rates and population growth among young adult males who comprise the bulk of new prisoners. (The Council of State Governments, n.d.). Nationally, 2006 census that ended June 2006 stated the number of inmates in custody of state and federal prison and local jails increased 2.8% to reach 2,245,189, state prisons increased 3.0%, federal prison 3.2%, and local jail 2.5%. The increase in the number of inmates in state or federal custody accounted for about 70% of the growth in total custody population. Prison admissions increased more rapidly than releases resulting in population growth. Female prisoners increased faster than the number of male prisoners between 2005 and 2006. The ethnic group’s statistics are as follows: Afro-American males 4.8% in prison, 1.9% Hispanic, and 0.7% Caucasian men (U.S. Department of Justice, 2005). The overcrowding crisis does not just...
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