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November 20, 2011

"Lifers are growing part of prison population"

The title of this post is the headline of this local article from Pennsylvania, which gets started this way:

What's behind the increase of older inmates in the state prison system?  Experts point to everything from aging baby boomers and longer life spans to overall prison population growth and a trend toward stiffer sentences.

"Lifers" make up a sizable portion of the elderly state prison population, said Dr. Larry Rosenberg, a Millersville University assistant professor of sociology who teaches a course on modern corrections.

The elderly prison population also includes repeat offenders incarcerated after their "third strike" and inmates serving long sentences for crimes committed in their 40s and 50s, he said.

Older men are generally less likely to commit violent crimes, Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said.  His office also prosecutes only a small number of drug dealers over age 40, he said.

But Stedman has noticed a recent increase in older sex offenders. "We do prosecute a lot of older men for these offenses compared to other crimes, and they tend to get the long sentences, which keep them in," he said.

Regardless of why they landed in prison, it's increasingly difficult for inmates of any age to get out.  Nearly 4,800 men and women currently are serving life sentences in state prisons.

November 20, 2011 at 09:39 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Here we go...

Yesterday: "We should use LWOP instead of the DP because it is worse than death and they will never see the light of day anyway."

Today: "What's the sense of keeping old people in prison? They cost too much and are a limited threat."

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Nov 21, 2011 9:07:53 AM

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