Graying of SC Prison Inmates Will Cost Taxpayers


South Carolina’s aging prison population will become an increasing financial burden, reports The State. In the past decade, the number of state inmates age 55 and older has more than doubled. At the end of June, one in every 11 inmates was 55 or older. Barring changes in the state's parole system, the aging prison population stands to become even more expensive.

“We've passed policies and laws that have dictated we want our prisons to become nursing homes,” said Jon Ozmint, the Columbia lawyer who was head of the state's prison system under former Gov. Mark Sanford. It costs about twice as much nationally to house a prisoner over 50 as it does the average prisoner, according to an ACLU study. South Carolina prison officials say they do not break out costs according to a prisoner's age. But the cost per inmate to state taxpayers increased from $12,353 in 2003 to $16,542 last year.

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