America’s ‘Nursing Homes Behind Bars’

By 2030, an estimated one-third of all incarcerated people in the U.S. will be elderly—many of them suffering serious mental and physical impairment. It’s not only a waste of taxpayer dollars to keep them behind bars, argues a law professor, but a violation of Constitutional prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment.

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Growing Old in Prison

The population of elderly prisoners in the United States has increased by more than 1,400 percent since 1981, according to a new report published by the American Civil Liberties Union. Three decades ago, American prisons housed fewer than 9,000 prisoners age 55 and older; today, that number stands at 124,900, according to the report. The ACLU projects the elderly prisoner population to top 400,000 by 2040. The report calls for a series of reforms, including conditional release for aging prisoners […]