Skip to comments.Aging inmates straining prison systems
Posted on 08/16/2010 7:17:15 AM PDT by Cardhu
CONNELL, Wash. (AP) -- Curtis Ballard rides a motorized wheelchair around his prison ward, which happens to be the new assisted living unit - a place of many windows and no visible steel bars - at Washington's Coyote Ridge Corrections Center.
A stroke left Ballard unable to walk. He's also had a heart attack and he underwent a procedure to remove skin cancer from his neck. At 77, he's been in prison since 1993 for murder. He has 14 years left on his sentence.
Ballard is among the national surge in elderly inmates whose medical expenses are straining cash-strapped states and have officials looking for solutions, including early release, some possibly to nursing homes. Ballard says he's fine where he is.
"I'd be a burden on my kids," said the native Texan. "I'd rather be a burden to these people."
That burden is becoming greater as the American Civil Liberties Union estimates that elderly prisoners - the fastest growing segment of the prison population, largely because of tough sentencing laws - are three times more expensive to incarcerate than younger inmates.
The ACLU estimates that it costs about $72,000 to house an elderly inmate for a year, compared to $24,000 for a younger prisoner.
The federal Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that the number of men and women in state and federal prisons age 55 and older grew 76 percent between 1999 and 2008, the latest year available, from 43,300 to 76,400. The growth of the entire prison population grew only 18 percent in that period.
"We're reaping the fruits of bad public policy like Three Strikes laws and other mandatory minimum sentencing laws," said David C. Fathi, director of the ACLU National Prison Project in Washington, D.C. "One in 11 prisoners is serving a life sentence."
(Excerpt) Read more at hosted.ap.org ...
The infirm started arriving at the new assisted living facility at Coyote Ridge when it opened on Feb. 1.
So what? Should we do what was done with the Lockerbie bomber, and release them?
I think that’s the left’s mindset......yes.
ObamaCare will finish them off
Turn their ‘care’ over to Sheriff Joe Arpaio for more deserving incarciration and treatment. Give those who need them pink, non-motorized wheelchairs.
I don't recall the entire content but some snippets were prisons cost the families nothing but nursing homes cost them around $4500 per month.
You get hot meals in prison, but cold food in nursing homes.
Jailbirds get checked on constantly, people in nursing homes only when the staff has time.
I support more liberal use of the death penalty. Maximum sentence should be 5 years in prison. Then, they come out and their medical problems are theirs and not society’s. Of course, some crimes are so heinous that a 5-yr sentence would be a slap in the face to victims, families and to society. If a 5 year sentence is inappropriate, then they get the death penalty. Repeat offenders also get the death penalty: no revolving doors.
I see he's really learned his lesson.
Who's paying for all this healthcare and a motorized wheelchair?
Presumably the state of Texas, when the bill should be sent to his family.
But just like all state and federal employees, their health care will be better than ours.
Stories like this make me understand just how easy it is for an entire society to embrace an ideology like Nazism when economic circumstances are difficult.
“I support more liberal use of the death penalty”
This article exposes the lie that imposing a death sentence (for the appropriate crime) often “costs more” (in terms of dollars) than does a “life sentence”.
That was a lie when it was first foisted upon us by the left, and it remains a lie.
IIRC, there was not a mention of much of the effect on the recidivism rate because of longer sentences. The death penalty and long sentences cut down on repeat offenders, IMO.
"These people" would be taxpayers.
“...the bill should be sent to his family.”
Sounds good, but it’s not really practical is it? Besides, his family didn’t choose to put him in jail, the state did.
This kind of math irks my guts.....the jailers are being paid anyhow, the food's being purchased anyhow, and the jail's already there....these numbers just break up the allocation on a per capita basis.
It's just like how the left bleats on about how much wars cost.
The only treatment that should be administered to old prisoners is to administer drugs to suppress the pain. Nothing to extend the life of the prisoner, let nature take its’ course.
He decided to go to jail by committing murder.
Out here in the real world, the elderly have their medical bills covered by insurance, federal programs, their savings or by family members ponying up the money.
This guy should not have frills like a motorized wheelchair - and yes, I realize that for many law-abiding non-murderers a motorized wheelchair is a baseline necessity, but those citizens deserve a higher standard to begin with and this inmate has hundreds of people standing around him with literally nothing better to do than to push him from point A to point B.
If he wants anything above inner city ER-level healthcare, he should ask his kids for help or do without.
I say put them in a room, feed them oatmeal, let them serve their time. I'm being slightly facetious here, not not very!
This is a problem that’s only going to get worse due to the ever-expanding options for treatment and the corresponding costs thereof. If it was a simple problem, it wouldn’t really be a problem.
Sounds good, but its not really practical is it? Besides, his family didnt choose to put him in jail, the state did.
My dad was a WWII Vet.. lived in the ditches surviving on small rations, freezing in the fox holes in the winter of '44. He chased the Germans across the Rhine and Rohr rivers into Berlin, and gave up a portion of his youth fighting for our country. A country he loved. At around 70 he was diagnosed with COPD. By the time he was 75, he wasn't able to walk the 20 feet from his kitchen to his living room without being completely out of breath. We tried to get assistance for the purchase of a scooter such as a hover-round, but we never got any help. We ended up buying one ourselves for him. Why should some murderous bastard living in prison be treated so much better than my father, a man who truly deserved it. As his son, I take it as my responsibility to take care of my dad. People are far too selfish now-a-days. I wonder how many elderly are abandoned by their children today to fend for themselves, or to be "taken care of" by our magnanimous state...