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Geriatric care in prison

Submitted by smomalley on Thu, 09/19/2019 - 01:22

The United States has the highest percentage of incarcerated people in the entire world. The prison population is mostly made up of non-violent short term sentences. Most prisoners are adult males behind bars for violent crimes. The majority of whom are held in state prisons. The average age of this specific prison population has risen as older prisoners carry out lengthy sentences. The older prison population has a host of health problems associated with age. Living in prison is hard on the body and accelerates the aging process. On average a prisoner above the age of sixty requires double the funding of a younger prisoner because of these health problems. This strains the already small state prison budgets. Statistically speaking, these prisoners are the least likely to return into society and committ another crime. A person typically "ages out" of crime in their late thirties. Violent offenders are also the least likely to committ another crime once released from prison, regardless of age. That begs the question, why are these people still locked behind bars? Prison health care does not have specialized geriatric care needed by these older prisoners. These older prisoners are the least likely to committ another crime, and cost double that of a younger prisoner. In countries like Denmark the maximum number of years served in prison is 25, regardless of the crime committed. After a certain point, there is no benefit to keeping ceratin populations in prison. Moving forward, geriatric care in prisons should be expanded upon, or release should be considered.