Agequake in Prisons: Improving the Knowledge and Awareness on Aging in Prisons

The demographic change towards an ageing society does not stop at the prison walls. The number of older incarcerated adults is growing, but at the same time, it is a forgotten population group. The typical incarcerated person is often thought of as a young, physically strong, and male person. In Switzerland, however, one in five prisoners is older than 50. Due to this development, prisons face new challenges: What needs do they have? Who should we consider ‘old’? And how should we care for them? This publicity project aims to bring the topic of "ageing in prison" outside the walls in order to give space to this current and controversial subject.

Over the past ten years, the research team led by Prof Dr. Bernice Elger has created a unique data set and new findings on the ageing population in Swiss prisons. During two major SNSF-funded projects, the older prison population's psychological, physical and social needs were analysed. These extremely important analyses have already been published in international scientific journals. Now, this knowledge is to be made accessible to the general population.

The touring photo exhibition on 'Ageing in prison'

Ausstellung Lenzburg

We use written, visual and audio media to communicate our expert knowledge to scholars, students, prison staff, medical personnel and the general public. A photo exhibition will become the center for various workshops and panel discussions.

Exhibition Flyer Geneva

29.03. - 05.04. 2024Schloss
05.04. - 30.04. 2024Konferenz Schweizer Gefängnisä
13.05. - 23.05. 2024Zürcher
23.05. - 13.06. 2024Haute école de santé Genè
16.10. - 06.11. 2024FHNW


#prison-info Magazine

#prison info magazine

Furthermore, a special edition of the Federal Office of Prisons' magazine on the execution of sentences and measures (#prison-info) will provide a special issue on ‘ageing in prison’, written in lay language. This will be available online and on paper for employees of the Swiss prison system, visitors to the photo exhibition and interested members of the public. Finally, a flyer will be created with the most important information in brief, specifically for older incarcerated adults.


Download #prison-info DE

Download #prison-info FR

This publicity project brings a quiet but highly relevant topic closer to the general public. With our immense wealth of knowledge and critical dialogue with experts and laypeople, we want to foster the discussion of this neglected topic and spread knowledge about those who live among us - but are invisible.

This project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation under the SNF Agora funding line.


Contact: Dr. Helene Seaward