Webinar | May 2013
Aging Inmates: The Continual 'Graying' of America's Prisons
Each year, around 675,000 elderly people are arrested, the U.S. Department of Justice says. Because these inmates likely will require regular medical attention, special facilities such as wheelchair ramps, and are generally in poorer health than their younger counterparts, they can cost as much as four times as much as other inmates to incarcerate. In fact, some statistics note that the cost of housing an elderly inmate is comparable to incarcerating prisoners in maximum-security prisons. Experts say the explosion of elderly inmates in the American penal system is not attributed to an elderly crime wave, but rather several factors that will continue to put more elderly people behind bars and continue to keep them behind bars longer. The Council of State Governments’ Southern Legislative Conference issued reports on this topic in 1998 and 2006. This webinar explored the graying of America’s prisons, with a look at how states can save money by consolidating elderly inmate populations, implementing early release for terminally ill or otherwise innocuous elderly prisoners, and implementing general policies that can limit victimization inside prison and address recidivism of elderly offenders upon release.
- Dr. Ronald Aday, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, Middle Tennessee State University
- Dr. Donald L. Sutmiller, Chief Medical Officer, Oklahoma State Department of Corrections