November 28, 2004

Giving Justice to Aging: Geriatric Jurisprudence in America

"Geriatric jurisprudence" is one of the academic mouthfuls that thicken the tongue and glaze the eye of otherwise lively intellects. Yet, the concept is at the center of a little-understood movement to bring the justice system of the United States into the age of longevity. This "In Focus" section touches on today's efforts to adapt the U.S. judicial system to an aging population.

There are many difficult pronlems to broach: What is the best way to protect those with cognitive impairments while still respecting their remaining capacity to participate in decisions about their future? How can the United States best deal with its aging prison population, especially the growing number of older women behind bars? What must judges and lawyers know to remove barriers between the courts and elders? And how can U.S. courtrooms benefit from the growing ranks of older volunteers who can offer a vital new resource to the American system of justice?

Geriatric jurisprudence? Aging Today's version of Winged Justice appearing on this page might emphasize-sounding a bit like the late Gray Panther founder Maggie Kuhn- "That means justice for all".

Paul Kleyman, Editor

Aging Today

Copyright American Society on Aging Sep/Oct 2004