May 28, 2009
Passing prisoners (and the health-care buck) to nursing homes in Ohio
I recently posted here on efforts by state officials in California to divert state prisoners to county jails in order to impose the economic costs of prisoner confinement on to localities. This story from my local paper, headlined "Nursing homes may get ailing inmates: Prisoners would be in no condition to threaten residents, state says," highlights how state officials in Ohio are trying to pass the economic costs of prisoner confinement in other ways. Here are the fascinating details:
Besieged by high medical costs and overcrowding, Ohio prison officials are turning to nursing homes to care for inmates who are medically incapacitated or terminally ill.
Few prisoners will be placed in nursing homes, perhaps 20 to 40 statewide, said Michael Randle, assistant director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. "These are some of the most expensive inmates we have," Randle said. "If they are released as if they are on parole, they will become eligible for Medicaid or Medicare."
Peter Van Runkle, head of a group of nursing-home owners called the Ohio Health Care Association, urged caution in evaluating and screening inmates because of safety concerns and public perception. "We would have to be careful about it, what the person did and what they're capable of doing," he said....
Randle said patients and their families would have nothing to fear because the prisoners essentially would be bedridden. "I understand their concerns," he said. "But the level of incapacitation means these people are not a threat to the public. These are people who are in need of 24-hour-a-day, skilled nursing care. "They're not capable, because of their medical condition, of taking care of themselves or committing a crime."
A law (House Bill 130) that took effect March 6 allows prison officials to submit cases of prisoners who meet medical criteria to the Ohio Parole Board for possible early parole. The board recommendation must be approved by Gov. Ted Strickland as part of the executive clemency process.
There are numerous exclusions: inmates under sentences of death or life without parole, those serving time for aggravated murder, and first- and second-degree felons. The law does not specifically prohibit sex offenders, but they would be banned anyway, Randle said.
That leaves nonviolent offenders serving time on third-, fourth- and fifth-degree felonies and misdemeanors. If an offender recovers while in a nursing home, he or she can be returned to prison....
Prison officials have been struggling with a system that is 32 percent over design capacity and plagued by skyrocketing medical costs. The graying prison population is contributing to the financial stress. While the average age of all inmates is 35, one-third of them are 40 or older and more than 1,300 are 60 or older. The oldest prisoner is 88.
Randle said several nursing-home operators across the state have expressed interest in the parole program. State officials will contact the sentencing judge, prosecutor and crime victim before considering the release of a prisoner to a nursing home, Randle said. If there is opposition, the parole board could conduct a public hearing.
Some related posts:
- Fascinating fights over how to pass the prison buck in California
- What should Florida and other states do with all their old sex offenders?
May 28, 2009 at 04:22 PM | Permalink
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I am betting they may forget their names and how to button a shirt. Their primitive aggressiveness, sexual predatoriness, and sneakiness will be the last to go. They should not be allowed to mix with grandma recovering from hip surgery. All their crimes belong to the nursing home because it has control of their bodies. However, the criminal lover lawyer has criminalized all restraints, all medications for agitation, and all adverse remarks criticizing their criminal clients. This scheme will greatly enrich the nursing home tort bar. Prisoner touches a tit, pay out a $million, even though that is worth nothing. There are no specialists in crime. So the credit card fraud inmate could be a serial rapist.
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There are numerous exclusions: inmates under sentences of death or life without parole, those serving time for aggravated murder, and first- and second-degree felons. The law does not specifically prohibit sex offenders, but they would be banned anyway
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