Nationwide correction reforms have reversed a decades-long trend of increased incarceration spending, but America's aging inmate population could place significant burdens on state correctional budgets, according to a new study by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
The number of state and federal prisoners 55 and older rose 204 percent between 1999 and 2012, according to the report, from 43,300 to 131,500. The report notes that elderly prisoners help drive increasing per-inmate health expenses.
Researchers for the report found that per-inmate health spending was 37 percent higher among the 10 states with the highest percentages of elderly inmates.
Those states are: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Maine, Illinois, Wyoming, Massachusetts, Montana, West Virginia, Vermont and Oregon.
Per-inmate health care spending increased in 39 states. Median growth was 10 percent.
In order to confront health spending on the elderly inmates, researchers recommend that state policymakers investigate the feasibility of using telehealth remote doctor programs, enrolling eligible prisoners in Medicaid, as well as other options.
Read the full report HERE.