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May 9, 2005

The (medical) costs of long sentences

The Tuscon Citizen has this thoughtful article about Arizona's aging prison population and the rising health-care costs associated with this phenomenon.  Here are some highlights from the article's discussion of an issue impacting prisons nationwide:

Arizona's prison inmates are getting older, sicker and they are staying behind bars longer, driving up health-care costs that have to be shouldered by taxpayers....

Arizona, with more than 32,000 inmates, mirrors a national problem, as its prison health-care allocations have increased 78 percent in the past decade.  And because aging inmates, those 55 and older, can cost three times as much to care for as younger inmates, experts warn they could potentially bankrupt some of the nation's already cash-strapped prison systems.

Officials blame longer sentences and truth-in-sentencing guidelines that virtually abolished parole.... All this means states across the country are scrambling to find ways to offset mounting medical expenses racked up by older inmates or grappling with adopting early-release programs for elderly inmates and those who are chronically or terminally ill.  At least 16 states provide special housing units for geriatric inmates, and soon Arizona will join more than two dozen states that operate hospice facilities inside prisons to provide end-of-life care at a reduced cost.

May 9, 2005 at 10:11 AM | Permalink


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Inmates wife. He is 68 yrs old he signed a 5yr plea-offer. White Collar, owed $100,000.00 no priors. Already served 6mo. at Durango (almost killed him)He arrived at Lewis Complex Fri 09-22-06 was immediately rushed to Phx St. Josephs Hosp, He required quadruple by-pass heart surgery performed Mon. 09-25-06 he is stable in ICU. He had no prior heart problems, Durango withheld bloodpressure meds periodically causing him to have a stroke. Would he qualify for early medical release? He has high blood pressure/hypertension/vertigo and needs proper meds admin daily with no substitutes and proper blood pressure monitoring since it has always been difficult to control. I would like to hire an attorney if my husband qualifies.

Posted by: margarita | Sep 27, 2006 9:55:07 PM

I can't wait to see the television drama where an indigent and homeless guy facing end-of-life issues burns down a few houses of fascist legislators so as to take advantage of prison meals and medical care.

Posted by: jimbino | Aug 18, 2008 2:35:04 PM

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