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Aging Behind Bars

AGING BERIND BARS The elderly population in prison is rising at staggering rate. The consequence of mass incarceration and strict sentencing policies at the federal and state level, older prisoners require more expensive care at a time when their danger to society at large is waning. Most are likely to die in prison, as programs designed to release such prisoners on compassionate grounds are rarely invoked, and don't have much potential to reduce the population of elderly prisoners. Continued high rates of long-term incarceration of the elderly are likely to add billions to state and federal criminal justice budgets. THE RISE OF THE ELDERLYPRISON POPULATION Between 2007 and 2010, the number of state and federal prisoners age 65 or older grew 94 times faster than the overall prison population. Between 1981 and 2010, the number of state and federal prisoners age 55 and over increased from 8,853 to 124,900. By 2030, that number is projected to grow to 400,000, an increase of 4,400 percent from 1981. C00'COF 124,900 32,600 8,853 2007 2010 1981 1995 2010 2030 ETYPES KEY AGE AT 1ST SENTENCE #OF TERMS CRIME OF ELDERLY PRISONERS INCARCERATION LENGTH COMMITTED OLD OFFENDERS 50 OR OLDER 20 YEARS OR MORE IST PRISON TERM MURDER OR SEX CRIMES YOUNG LONG-TERM PRISONERS YOUNGER THAN 50 •uusluulanl VARIES EITHER IST TERM OR REPEAT OFFENDERS MURDER, ARMED ROBBERY, RAPE, REPEAT DRUG OFFENSES REPEAT PRISONERS YOUNGER THAN 50 20 YEARS OR MORE * 2ND OR MORE BURGLARY, THEFT, DRUG POSSESSION YOUNG SHORT-TERM PRISONERS YOUNGER THAN 50 LESS THAN 20 YEARS IST BURGLARY, THEFT, DRUG POSSESSION WHY THE EILDERLY ARE IN PRISON The overall prison population has doubled during the past 20 years from 739,980 PRISONERS in 1990 to 1,543,206 PRISONERS in 2010 due to truth-in-sentencing guidelines and "three strikes" laws. 1,543,206 PRISONERS 739,980 PRISONERS 1990 2010 The number of inmates serving life sentences QUADRUPLED between 1984 and 2008; inmates who live a long time with life sentences will grow old and are most likely to die in prison. 140,610 127, ,677 69,845 34,000 1984 1992 2003 2008 The number of inmates sentenced to life without parole more than TRIPLED between 1992 and 2008. 41,095 33,633 12,453 1992 2003 2008 GOVERNMENT FISCAL IMPACT Care for aging prisoners is at least twice as expensive than for younger prisoners because this population: HAS MORE HEALTH PROBLEMS REQUIRES LONGER AND MORE NEEDS CARE OUTSIDE OF THE AND REQUIRES MORE MEDICAL CARE FREQUENT HOSPITALIZATIONS PRISON SYSTEM, WHICH REPRESENTS 72 PERCENT OF ALL HEALTHCARE COSTS SPENT ON AGING PRISONERS MEDICAL CENTER $34,135 Average annual incarceration cost per prisoner 2$ s68,270 Average annual cost of care for aging prisoners Highest annual $102,405 cost of care for aging prisoners MANAGING THE PROBLEM By the time a person turns 50, the likelihood of that person committing another crime has DROPPED PRECIPITOUSLY. Only 16.9 percent of prisoners released at age 45 and older return for new sentences. POLICIES THAT COULD REDUCE THE NUMBER OF AGING PRISONERS INCLUDE: GRANTING CONDITIONAL RELEASE UTILIZING AND EXPANDING REAUTHORIZING AND EXPANDING FOR AGING PRISONERS WHO POSE MEDICAL PAROLE AGING PRISONER RELEASE LITTLE SAFETY RISK PROGRAMS States could save an AVERAGE OF $66,294 EVERY YEAR for each released aging prisoner, which accounts for increased parole, housing and public benefits costs. IMPACT OF ANNUAL COST SAVINGS OF RELEASING THE AVERAGE AGING PRISONER VERSUS KEEPING THEM BEHIND BARS. HIGH MEDIUM LOW s104,434 S66,294 s28,362 SOURCES Bureau of Justice Statistics, Human Rights Watch, American Civil Liberties Union, Pew Center for the States CRIMINALJUSTICEDEGREEHUB.COM

Aging Behind Bars

shared by caradelany on Jun 12
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With the prison system home to thousands of aging inmates, healthcare costs for these individuals is rising at an exponential rate. These elderly prisoners will most likely die in prison, as sentenci...


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