Dying Inside: Elderly In Prison

Submitted by: LordJim 1 month ago in News & Politics


The massive prison population in the U.S. is getting older. Long sentences that were handed out decades ago are catching up with the American justice system, and prisons across the country are dedicating entire units just to house the elderly.

During difficult economic times, the issue has hit a crisis point. Estimates are that locking up an older inmate costs three times as much as a younger one.
There are 18 comments:
Male 84
So much ill-informed information has been bandied about our prisons. This is an article that sheds some light on the national disgrace which is our prison system: 


Mass incarceration within the United States of America is a national social crisis.  The criminal justice system has evolved into a punitive entity of injustice, evidenced by the 2.2 million prisoners incarcerated at a staggering rate of 1 in every 110 adults.  The United States is comprised of 5 percent of the world’s population, yet it houses 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.  If the United States judiciary system advocated for federal legislation that created equal laws, that did not disproportionately incarcerate the impoverished and people of color, it would not be the world leader in hyper-incarceration today.

African-American men make up 13 percent of the general population, yet they encompass 40 percent of the world’s prisoners.  African-American children must accept their potential risk of incarceration, at a rate of 1 in 3, because parents across the nation pay taxes in support of a status quo which disproportionately incarcerates them. Similarly, Hispanics are arrested at a rate of 1 and 6.

Rehabilitation does not meet the shared interest of the elite.  The War on Drugs has resulted in 1.5 million adults incarcerated that meet the criteria for substance abuse disorders.  Only 11 percent of inmates diagnosed with substance abuse disorders receive treatment while incarcerated.  Approximately 375,000 inmates diagnosed with mental health disorders cycle through the jail system every day.


Citizens fear that immigrants burden the welfare system, yet Americans contribute funds to an unrestricted welfare state within the prison system.  Systematic racism and structural inequality are expensive. Mass incarceration costs the United States $52 billion annually, at a daily rate of $113.87 per inmate.  Direct costs associated with fueling the prison pipeline, are clothing, food, shelter, health care services, transportation and infrastructure.  Administrative costs include staff salaries, professional training, benefits and legal expenses.


There is historical evidence, of substantial social and economic cost associated with mass incarceration.  In the state of California, 63 percent of the jail population are detained due to an inability to afford monetary bail for pre-trial release.  The majority of adults detained in jail are suspected of non-violent offenses that present low risk to public safety.  If government legislation was merited in humanity and justice, drug-related charges would be processed in drug court, and individuals impaired by behavioral health would be processed through specialty mental health courts governed in treatment.  Rehabilitation and reduced recidivism rates are priceless in the protection of community wellness.


The monetary bail system indirectly preys on the family system, by using financial sanctions to deny freedom to low-risk defendants “suspected” of a criminal offense.  The predatory commercial surety bail system has dismantled the family structure.  Defendants suffer loss of employment, family separation and long-term mental health impairment from stress associated with conditions of imprisonment.  Children are disseminated throughout the social welfare system due to abandonment inflicted by the criminal justice system.

Studies have shown that incarceration reduces the annual income of adult men by 40 percent.  Individuals with criminal charges are exposed to civic exclusions, and barriers to attaining public housing and employment, which diminishes human dignity and self-worth. Yet, Americans are not concerned with the plight of incarcerated individuals.

This is a call of action for equal treatment in accordance to law that is representative of all people, and protection of rights under the Constitution. Advocating for equal liberties, fair sentencing policies, due process, and allocation of federal monies that support paroled offenders in the community, is the highest form of civic duty.


Morgan D. Love-Warren is a MSW graduate student at the University of Southern California. Love-Warren is a Pasadena resident.



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Male 2,755
Not sure that turning them lose would be any better as they would still need the same care as they get now and if there over 65 there on medicaid any way. Maybe the answer is separate prisons for these people. More like an old folks home with bars. If they are truly unable to care for themselves turning them lose will only make it necessary to care for them some other way.
  And if you go the humanitarian route that we should not keep old people in jail, they are there for  crimes committed there being punished. The cost does beg some other method that's not so costly. 
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295
I didn't finish the video, but one thing I didn't hear mentioned was recidivism.  Over 75% of US prisoners are arrested again within five years of being released.  50% within their first year.  Its just a revolving door.

Doesn't do any good to release them or give them probation, they'll just go right back to what they know.  Except possibly for these elderly folks, they might not be physically or mentally capable of ripping off a 7-11 anymore.

Dunno what we can do with the mental ones.  I looked at local long term care facilities for dementia not too long ago.  A decent one nearby was $42,000.00/year.  That's a lot of liquor store holdups.
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Male 18,342
kelly_hanna I remember a story about an elderly inmate who robbed a bank for a dollar on release, because he couldn't pay for his cancer treatment. 
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295
Draculya Yeah, that's kind of what I was alluding to.  long term care is prohibitively expensive for many.  I can see desperation leading to something like that.
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Male 9,341
kelly_hanna Over 75% of US prisoners are arrested again within five years of being released. 

Yes. I would agree that recidivism is the key indicator of a prison system's success. In western Europe they have a different system and different results. So either American criminals are inherently worse than European ones, or the system is worse.

I'm guessing the latter.
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295
LordJim Couldn't tell ya.  What I do know is that all US prisoners get access to primary and secondary educations.  Many, if not most, can get college credits and a degree, as long as they aren't looking for a medical degree or the like.  Vocational training is also free.

But you can lead a horse to water
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6,907
I'm going to cry fake news here. according to the Liberals laws prevent crime. Therefore jails do not exist because no one would ever break the law. Definitely not in our utopian society. I don't have any first-hand experience of Prisons so I don't believe they exist. XD
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Male 9,341
dm2754 One minute you are making sense, the next you are talking like a child. 
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6,907
LordJim yes I know it's hard for you to understand things
XD
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Male 9,341
dm2754 Oh dear, is my reading comprehension not up to your standards?
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Male 9,627
I dont feel sorry for them for being in this situation.  They put themselves there in most circumstances.  My issue is with people being locked up for non violent crimes like drug abuse etc.  If you killed/attacked someone no mercy for you.  Sorry.
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Male 1,094
normalfreak2 I've never understood drug sentences being so long.  If someone is no danger to society then what's the point?  If someone is strung out on drugs and neglects their child, or kills someone in an auto accident, conviction should be appropriate to the actual crime, with or without drugs involved.  But if there's a history of drug abuse, and drugs were involved, maybe the sentence should be extended.  Drug dealers would be a different story, as essentially they are contributing to the harm of others.  But for just someone possessing, the sentences are sometimes way too harsh.
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Male 9,341
normalfreak2 The UK has probably the harshest system in western Europe, but full life sentences are very rare, just for serial killers and psychos. Some twenty year old who pulls a knife in a scrap and kills someone is not expected to die in prison sixty years later. No mercy? Are you sure? Is that working?
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Male 9,627
LordJim Like I said, I don't believe in life sentences for anything other than Murder/Terrorism etc stuff that actually hurts people.  I don't believe in locking up and throwing away the key for thieves, drug users non violent offenders.  I also don't believe they need incredibly long sentences.  I'm advocating that anyone that is violent or kills someone needs to be put in jail.  Those are the people that need to be rehabilitated. 

I'm not stating the prison system is working, I know for damn well it's not.  It's supposed to rehabilitate, not be used as slave labour.
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Male 9,341
normalfreak2 That is certainly a widely held opinion; I don't share it.
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6,907
LordJim one of the biggest problems is our society is set up to make Rehabilitation almost impossible
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Male 9,341
dm2754 In the US, certainly. In the UK it gets lip-service but negligible funding. In western Europe they are doing pretty well, if you are going by results rather than how much your anger has been satiated.
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