Prisons Not Geared to the Needs of the Elderly, Study Finds

http://fconline.fdncenter.org/pnd/10000157/story

By 2022, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will incarcerate about thirty thousand elders — individuals who, while they represent the smallest threat to public safety among the prison population, cost the most to imprison, a new report from Legal Services for Prisoners with Children ( http://prisonerswithchildren.org/ ) finds.

Funded by the Los Angeles-based California Endowment, Dignity Denied: the Price of Imprisoning Older Women in California documents the conditions of confinement for the more than three hundred and fifty women over the age of fifty-five in state prisons. According to the report, the “Three Strikes” law and a reluctance to grant parole have left more Californians growing older in prison than ever before. Moreover, health-related expenses push the estimated annual cost of imprisoning an older person to at least $70,000, twice that of a younger prisoner.

The authors of the report further assert that prisons aren’t geared to the needs and vulnerabilities of older people and that their continued incarceration raises fundamental questions of how society treats elders. While many aging prisoners share the same challenges faced by elders in the outside community — bathing, dressing, and using the bathroom — prison policies and everyday routines present unique problems, such as undressing for strip searches, getting assigned to difficult-to-reach top bunks, fighting over limited laundry slots, and waiting in long lines to receive medication. Many older prisoners also report feeling unsafe in their cells and experience difficulties getting help during emergencies.

In an effort to reduce the number of older prisoners, the report recommends the early release of elderly prisoners and supports policy changes to improve prison conditions.

To read or download the complete report (81 pages, PDF), visit: http://fconline.fdncenter.org/pnd/10000156/report/download

“New Report Calls for Early Release of Elderly Prisoners.” Legal Services for Prisoners With Children Press Release 12/15/05.

http://fconline.fdncenter.org/pnd/10000157/story

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2 Responses to “Prisons Not Geared to the Needs of the Elderly, Study Finds”



  1. 1 A say in one’s or other’s life? « O’Folks Trackback on 2007 March 11 at 4:27 pm
  2. 2 Nonagenarian: prison care « O’Folks Trackback on 2007 August 3 at 9:17 pm
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