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June 26, 2005

More on the (medical) costs of long sentences

As detailed in this post, last month the Tuscon Citizen ran this thoughtful article about Arizona's aging prison population and the associated rising health-care costs.  This morning the Los Angeles Times examines this issue in this cover story entitled, "Dying on our dime: California's prisons are teeming with older inmates who run up staggering medical costs."

The LA Times article details that the "financial toll of incarcerating senior citizens nationwide is staggering," that "California spends two to three times more a year housing inmates over the age of 55," and that a "state Legislative Analysts Office study projects that the number of inmates over 60 could hit 30,200 by 2022, costing the state at least a billion dollars a year." The article then astutely spotlights that "sentencing reform is the primary culprit. The state's 1994 three-strikes law mandates life sentences without parole for certain repeat felons, and these recidivists — 42,240 second- and third-strikers as of June 2002 — will inevitably grow old and die in prison."

In addition to its effective coverage of this important issue, the LA Times article also has this compelling photo gallery of elderly inmates.

June 26, 2005 at 08:48 AM | Permalink


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Click through these pictures from the LA Times. Then go read the cover story, Dying on Our Dime. [Via Sentencing Law and Policy.]... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 26, 2005 12:40:55 PM


As a criminal defense lawyer who has represented three 70+ defendants in the past year in federal court, I find these articles very helpful. Does anyone know where statistical information about how much the BOP is spending on the medical care of aged inmates can be found?

Posted by: Ellen C. Brotman | Jun 27, 2005 11:56:10 AM

I am just a lay person (and member of FAMM) interested in sentencing issues.

In regards to Ellen's question about statistics on the cost of medical care for the elderly imprisoned; No, I don't know exactly where to get that information. But maybe you could start here:

Bureau of Justice Statistics
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Posted by: Aimee Boettcher | Jun 27, 2005 6:02:00 PM

As an writer and advocate for seniors, I recently wrote a blog on the cost of maintaining the eldelry in prison.

If you'd like to check it out, use this link:

Are Geriatric Jailbirds Getting Better Health Care Than Mom?


Posted by: Ami Icanberry | May 9, 2007 7:54:13 PM

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