Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Aging inmates straining prison systems
AP ^ | August 16th 2010 | NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS

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 ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aged; budget; inmates
Washington has 2,495 inmates who are age 50 or older, the state's definition of elderly, according to information released after a public records request from The Associated Press. There are 270 inmates over the age of 65.

The infirm started arriving at the new assisted living facility at Coyote Ridge when it opened on Feb. 1.

1 posted on 08/16/2010 7:17:17 AM PDT by Cardhu
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Cardhu

So what? Should we do what was done with the Lockerbie bomber, and release them?


2 posted on 08/16/2010 7:18:33 AM PDT by pnh102 (Regarding liberalism, always attribute to malice what you think can be explained by stupidity. - Me)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: pnh102

I think that’s the left’s mindset......yes.


3 posted on 08/16/2010 7:20:58 AM PDT by RushIsMyTeddyBear (I don't have a 'Cousin Pookie'.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Cardhu
Not to worry.

ObamaCare will finish them off

4 posted on 08/16/2010 7:27:15 AM PDT by Zakeet (Mark Steyn: We're too broke to be this stupid)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: pnh102

Turn their ‘care’ over to Sheriff Joe Arpaio for more deserving incarciration and treatment. Give those who need them pink, non-motorized wheelchairs.


5 posted on 08/16/2010 7:31:44 AM PDT by GGpaX4DumpedTea (I am a tea party descendant - steeped in the Constitutional legacy handed down by the Founders)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: pnh102
Somebody posted a funny e-mail about why we should put elderly people in prison and jailbirds in nursing homes.

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.

6 posted on 08/16/2010 7:32:39 AM PDT by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Cardhu

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.


7 posted on 08/16/2010 7:34:22 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cardhu
"I'd be a burden on my kids," said the native Texan. "I'd rather be a burden to these people."

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.

8 posted on 08/16/2010 7:34:56 AM PDT by wideawake
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Vigilanteman

But just like all state and federal “employees”, their health care will be better than ours.


9 posted on 08/16/2010 7:36:17 AM PDT by SanFranDan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Cardhu

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.


10 posted on 08/16/2010 7:42:59 AM PDT by Alberta's Child ("Let the Eastern bastards freeze in the dark.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ClearCase_guy

“I support more liberal use of the death penalty”

Indeed.

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.


11 posted on 08/16/2010 7:44:50 AM PDT by Grumplestiltskin (I may look new, but it's only deja vu!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Cardhu

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.


12 posted on 08/16/2010 7:46:07 AM PDT by burroak
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cardhu
"I'd be a burden on my kids," said the native Texan. "I'd rather be a burden to these people."

"These people" would be taxpayers.

13 posted on 08/16/2010 7:46:23 AM PDT by Onelifetogive (For the record, McCarthy was right.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wideawake

“...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.


14 posted on 08/16/2010 7:46:51 AM PDT by swain_forkbeard (Rationality may not be sufficient, but it is necessary.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: pnh102
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.

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.

15 posted on 08/16/2010 7:47:05 AM PDT by ErnBatavia (It's not the Obama Administration....it's the "Obama Regime".)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Cardhu

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.


16 posted on 08/16/2010 7:47:31 AM PDT by dfwgator
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: swain_forkbeard
Besides, his family didn’t choose to put him in jail, the state did.

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.

17 posted on 08/16/2010 7:56:52 AM PDT by wideawake
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: dfwgator
I agree with that. I don't understand TVs in jail, or fitness centers, or special food preparation, or medical and dental benefits.

I say put them in a room, feed them oatmeal, let them serve their time. I'm being slightly facetious here, not not very!

18 posted on 08/16/2010 8:03:14 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: wideawake

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.


19 posted on 08/16/2010 8:11:31 AM PDT by swain_forkbeard (Rationality may not be sufficient, but it is necessary.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Cardhu
"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."

Actually, we're reaping the fruits of activist judges who make mandatory minimum sentencing and Three Strikes laws necessary.

As I noted in a piece I wrote about an man being deported under similar guidelines,

...Prior to the 1996 immigration law revisions, judges had the discretion to consider mitigating factors such as community ties and whether the person posed a real security threat. Judges “abused” that discretion according to Federation for American Immigration Reform executive director Dan Stein. The Star-Telegram quotes Stein alleging that some judges created a “massive loophole” via their activism. Amongst the cited evidence was a 37 percent recidivism rate for criminal aliens released under the previous judicial discretion.

Stories like this are being offered to rally support for a restoration of judicial discretion – without even criticizing the activism that served to arrest it in the first place. The proper role for judges in a free society is to interpret the law in specific cases based upon legislative intent. Some elites, however, would rather the judiciary be an instrument of ‘wise’ restraint/guidance that robed – and unelected – Philosopher Kings would use to overcome any ‘unwise’ popular mandate. That is why this cadre prefers controversial issues to be settled in the courts rather than debated openly on the floors of elected legislative bodies.

It would indeed be best if the judges could be trusted to exercise discretion in interpreting the law.


...but they cannot, hence the necessity for such guidelines.

...we as a society would not be faced with the choice of punishing [certain convicts] with such disproportionate harshness or resuming a status quo in which so many criminals were needlessly allowed to go free.

-- So much for the professed Compassion of the Enlightened.

The fact that mandatory sentencing guidelines, ‘three-strikes-you’re-out’ laws and automatic deportation mechanisms should be considered necessary is an absurd testament to a body of jurists who are deeply corrupted by elitist arrogance.

20 posted on 08/16/2010 8:24:58 AM PDT by walford (http://natural-law-natural-religion.blogspot.com/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: swain_forkbeard
“...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.

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...

21 posted on 08/16/2010 8:33:18 AM PDT by Dubya-M-Dees (Little HOPE... No CHANGE)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson