Ill Senior Inmates Stretch California Prison Health Care Bill


California’s expanding prison population and the increasing average age of its inmates are key factors in the debate over whether the state should spend $7 billion to build medical units for a prison health care system that has been ruled unconstitutional, the Associated Press reports. The money has been sought by a federal court receiver who has been placed in charge of medical care in the state’s 33 adult prisons.

One inmate 86, is serving a life sentence after being convicted of a “third strike” for stealing candy and cheese from a grocery store. He is in prison coping with the final stages of terminal liver disease. Older inmates cost two to three times to incarcerate as younger ones, an average $98,000 to $138,000 a year. Between 1980 and 2007, the average age of California inmates rose from 27 to 37. Officials say inmates age faster than the general population because of stress, a history of drug use, poor medical care throughout their lives and other factors.


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