Our Aging Prison Population: Should Criminals Die Free?
02/15/2012 - Last month, Human Rights Watch released staggering figures on the human and financial costs of the growth of aging persons behind bars in America. According to their report, from 2007 to 2010 the number of prisoners over age 65 increased by 63 percent, even as the total number of inmates grew by less than one percent. Cash-strapped states are seeing health care costs for their aging, imprisoned population skyrocket.
My home state of Louisiana currently leads the nation in the highest rate of incarceration. According to the Pew Center on the States, one in every 55 Louisianans is behind bars. The Baton Rouge Advocate newspaper documented that caring for aging inmates costs $80,000 annually, a cost borne fully by the state since inmates do not qualify for Medicaid or Medicare. Last summer, Governor Jindal signed House Bill 138, making parole possible for non-violent prisoners who are age 60 and older, who have not been convicted of a sexual crime, and who have served a minimum of 10 years.
Read the full article at theatlantic.com.