Half of TX $466 Million Prison Health Care Cost to Inmates Over 55

As housing and medical care costs for Texas inmates continue to rise, state Sen. John Whitmire wants the geriatric inmates released so the state can shed that part of the $465.7 million it spends annually on inmate medical care, reports the Tyler Morning Telegraph. More than 50 percent of that cost is spent on care for inmates 55 and older.

“We don’t have the luxury to spend money on old, sick and dying inmates,” said Whitmire. “If we want to continue spending millions to house, care for and bury these offenders, then OK, but then we won’t have money for education, roads and other programs where the money is desperately needed.” Rusk County District Attorney Micheal Jimerson is among those who disagree with Whitmire. Jimerson said a jury’s decision and a court’s ruling should not be circumvented to “save a couple of dollars” while endangering the public. “You’re talking about accepting a promise from a criminal that he/she will not reoffend, when many of them have been given chance after chance,” he said. In 2010, 392 inmates died in prison, and of those, 114 were older than 60.

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