USA Today is the latest media outlet to focus on the problem of elderly prison inmates. Of the 1,000 prisoners who typically work the fields at Louisiana’s Angola Prison, Warden Burl Cain said he’s lucky if 600 to 700 are physically able to do the job. One third of all inmates are older than 50, and many are so debilitated that the state spends north of $100,000 per inmate to care for them. Last month, California dedicated an $839 million complex to provide “mental health and medical services to the state’s sickest inmate patients.” The first of 1,722 inmate-patients arrive this month. Advocacy groups say the facility represented a failure of state officials to address its problems years ago. “If the state had taken common sense steps to parole the elderly, the terminally ill, the medically disabled, would this prison hospital have been built?” said Mary Sutton of Critical Resistance.