Document Type

Dissertation - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Rural Sociology

First Advisor

Robert Mendelsohn


This study focuses on the understanding of what it is like to grow old in a state penitentiary. A qualitative research methodology is utilized to emphasize the self-descriptions of ten aging inmates' experiences and perceived health status, family contact and relationships, entertainment and recreational [rec] activities, contact with other inmates, dining [chow] time, and living arrangements. The theoretical bases utilized in the research to understand the inmates' self-descriptions of aging within the state prison are Irving Rosow's role loss in the context of aging and Donald Clemmer's prisonization theory. The description of growing old within the state penitentiary by each of the inmates reinforces the expectations developed and their theoretical underpinnings. The results do contribute to the practice of prison management. The descriptions and significant meaning statements of the self-described experiences of growing old within the state penitentiary provide state penitentiary management officials with information useful in making decisions regarding the needs of the growing elderly population in prison.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Older prisoners -- South Dakota -- Psychology.
Male prisoners -- South Dakota -- Psychology.
Aging -- Psychological aspects.
Aging -- Social aspects.


South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright