The Crisis of the Aging Prison Population


The aging population incarcerated in our nation’s prisons has exploded over the past two decades, but a new report from the Osborne Association finds we are woefully unprepared to meet their needs.By 2030, one-third of all incarcerated individuals will be over 55. The U.S. currently spends $16 billion to incarcerate individuals over the age of 50, with the per-prisoner incarceration cost of elders over 50 is more than double that of younger, more able-bodied individuals. The recidivism rate of adults over 65 is just 4 percent, compared with 43.3 percent for all individuals.

However, the reports finds that compassionate release laws for the elderly are rarely used and reentry plans are extremely difficult for this population. The report recommends numerous ways to overcome these obstacles.

The New York Times wrote about the cost of keeping an elderly, infirm person in prison– more than $100,000 a year, about double the average prisoner. Read the coverage of the report here.

Read the paper here.

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