New Report: Number of Aging Prisoners is Soaring

Human Rights Watch has released a new report, “Old Behind Bars: The Aging Prison Population in the United States."

Aging men and women are the most rapidly growing group in US prisons, and prison officials are hard-pressed to provide them appropriate housing and medical care, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Because of their higher rates of illness and impairments, older prisoners incur medical costs that are three to nine times as high as those for younger prisoners.

By the numbers: [More...]

the number of sentenced state and federal prisoners age 65 or older grew at 94 times the rate of the overall prison population between 2007 and 2010. The number of sentenced prisoners age 55 or older grew at six times the rate of the overall prison population between 1995 and 2010.

Prisons were never designed to substitute for old-age homes, yet that is what they must do, if we don't release them.

To investigate, HRW visited nine states and 20 prisons, where they nterviewed prison officials, corrections and gerontology experts, and prisoners.

Prison is difficult enough to adjust to, imagine being frail, with mobility, hearing, or vision impairments, ore suffering chronic, disabling, and terminal illnesses, or diminishing cognitive capacity.

The Report's recommendations:
  • Review sentencing and release policies to determine which could be modified to reduce the growing population of older prisoners without risking public safety;
  • Develop comprehensive plans for housing, medical care, and programs for the current and projected populations of older prisoners; and ,/li
  • Modify prison rules that impose unnecessary hardship on older inmates.
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    It needs be remembered (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by scribe on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 06:45:42 AM EST
    that one of the reasons for many of the pardons Haley Barbour granted at the last minute of his gubernatorial term  was that many of those the prisoners were old and needed health care, and that turning them loose was a good way to save the state the cost of taking care of them.

    Let it be said about Mississippi that their politicians never miss a trick when it comes to hurting people to line their or the state's own pockets.

    And yet (none / 0) (#3)
    by jbindc on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 08:56:06 AM EST
    Many of those pardoned by Barbour, well, it seems their files have gone missing.



    What Do They Think These Older... (none / 0) (#2)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 08:49:49 AM EST
    ...prisoners are going to do, get a job with benefits ?  The Fed is still going to have flip the bill, like just about every person over 65.

    And unless there is a plan to get these people some sort of living/income arrangements, releasing them isn't going to solve any problem and probably create a few.

    I'm surprised there isn't some sort facilities for older, and presumably, less dangerous prisoners.  With medical services and other special needs.

    And for the comment above about Haley Barbour, he just shifted their responsibility to the fed, which is pretty amusing considering how much those nitwits hate the fed.  It's the ultimate cop-out, pushing costly prisoners onto someone else's balance sheet and calling it a win.

    Amazing (none / 0) (#4)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 09:49:36 AM EST

    It seems this report has made the amazing discovery that the criminal cohort of the baby boom generation is just now hitting 65 years of age.  Who da thunk it?