In July 2012, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections removed every inmate younger than 40 from its reformatory in Granite, Okla., after guards at the understaffed prison struggled to control violence there. Older prisoners were moved in from other state prisons, and the strategy appears to be working, reports the Oklahoman. In 2012, the medium-security facility reported 27 cases of battery, 53 cases of intentional injury and 35 assaults. Since the transition to older inmates, there have been just seven recorded incidents of violence.
Warden Tracy McCollum said, “Violence has gone to virtually nothing.” He said the older inmates are calmer and less inclined toward violence than the younger inmates. The prison has seen much higher demand for medical services since the change, and that may be a trend harbinger. About 20 percent of the state’s prisoners are 50 and older, compared to 5 percent in 1980. In 2012, inmate health care expenses in the state prison system totaled $59.4 million, compared to $34.2 million in 2000.