“Today,” Mother Jones‘s James Ridgeway reports, “roughly 1 in 12 state and federal prison inmates is 55 or older.” Prisoners sentenced to life without parole will die in prison, so that means they’ll convalesce there too. In other words, prisons are part nursing home and, according to a report from the ACLU, the number of elderly prisoners is expected to skyrocket:
Imprisonment is already expensive, but aging patients cost twice what a younger prisoner costs. Today, we spent $16 billion a year to house elderly prisoners, Soon we’ll have to start renovating our prisons.
Unless states start releasing them, [former warden Bob] Hood says, we will need to “retrofit every prison in America to put assisted living-units in it, wheelchair accessibility, handicapped toilets, grab bars — the whole nine yards.”
Prisons increasingly feature assisted-living cells and hospice units.
Some argue for “compassionate release.” After all, elderly prisoners have a very low recidivism rate. But the ACLU cautions us to remember that release shouldn’t mean abdicating responsibility. “For many elderly prisoners,” the director of the ACLU’s National Prison Project explains, “particularly those with serious medical needs, simply pushing them out the prison door will be tantamount to a death sentence.”Lisa Wade, PhD is an Associate Professor at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming introductory text: Terrible Magnificent Sociology. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Assisted-Living Prison Cells: On Aging Prisoners » Sociological Images « National-Express2011 — October 10, 2012
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LynneShapiro2 — October 10, 2012
a way there's a sex bias to all the attention paid to prisoners who are
predominantly male. Just as much attention needs to be made to
prisoners in nursing homes who are predominantly female. The prisoners
probably get better care that is monitored for their civil liberties than the nursing home inmates as I saw from my
grandmother's long stay in one.
Kelsey — October 10, 2012
Does any tax payer money reach privatized prisons?
This whole thing is just sad. Our justice system is not designed to rehabilitate inmates, and instead turns them into life long criminals who never learn how to live outside of prison. And then after they've spent their lives behind bars we decide they are too much of a burden and throw them on their asses to rot in the street.
Vadim McNab — October 10, 2012
Instead of putting all this money to schools for the children, we waste it on dying old convicts.
We have to come together as a society and agree that some people need to be destroyed for the greater good.
Danny Abbott — October 10, 2012
I am quite familiar with the way our world treats oldsters. My brother Dwight Abbott, is wheelchair bound in Salinas Valley Maximum Security Prison; serving life without parole. He is at the 'mercy' of his state hired handlers. The handlers have little to no accountability and are free to met out whatever their minds can 'imagine'. We ALL know the 'mind' of man; so just think what YOU would do, if a prisoner spat in your face and insulted your mother......my brother and MANY others, have suffered indignities that would make the "Bastille" look like a 'cakewalk'. He has written two books about his treatment from childhood (9 years old) to adulthood. He has lived a very 'violent' life and many point the finger and say: "these 'derelicts' DESERVE every pain they suffer." Vengeance is NOT the Answer; it is our problem.
Danny Abbott — October 10, 2012
All 'guilty oldsters' begin as 'innocent youngsters'........
Nonenne — October 10, 2012
So do they have it better or worse than the average, non-incarcerated American senior?
Assisted-Living Prison Cells? On Aging Prisoners – The Society Pages « up2xxi — October 10, 2012
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myblackfriendsays — October 10, 2012
Maybe these inmates just need some grace, and the ability to live their last days on earth as free people--even if it's just in a nursing home on the outside.
barbara — October 11, 2012
Wow. I have to say that I have rarely been as shocked as I was by Vadim's statement. My heart was first moved to pity for these old men in the photos, just as it is when I visit people in hospitals and nursing homes. and then it was moved to horror when I read that comment. We could just as well argue that society should "destroy" anyone whose existence costs more than they "contribute" monetarily: all old people? Permanently or terminally ill people? Many disabled people? So that we can spend money on one group, we "destroy" (what an incredible word to choose!) others? As Aaron said, there is plenty of money for all; other societies have prioritized caring for their citizens by sharing the wealth. Americans have chosen individual hogging of the wealth, so that we starve the nation as a whole (as the neo-cons argued, Republican strategy has to be to "starve the beast", i.e. government). If we decided to be a caring society, we would share the wealth so that we can take care of all our members. Other, less wealthy societies do it; why can't we? And don't point to Greece and Italy; what about Germany, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, etc? They have NOT bankrupted their economies by spreading the wealth around. It IS possible, it just takes prioritizing people over corporations, and America as a whole over individuals.
Jesse the K — October 11, 2012
All taxpayers are supporting prisons whose only goal is punishment.
Excepting the handcuffs*, those pictures could have been taken at the relatively new, "good" reputation, private-pay, continuum-of-care nursing home where a relative resides. Nursing homes are prisons for people who've committed the crime of disability.
*My relative has been placed in "soft restraints" when delirious from fever to prevent leaving bed. Tied to a bed is tied to a bed.
Chart of the day: Graying in the Graybar Hotel | eats shoots 'n leaves — October 11, 2012
[...] the Graybar Hotel Posted on 2012 October 11 | Leave a comment From a devastating report at Sociological Images on America’s rapidly aging prison population. The accompanying photos are simply [...]
ElusiveOkami — October 13, 2012
Our prison system is corrupt. There are people making money off of imprisoning people. With the war on drugs we ensure a steady stream of inmates. The business of prisons requires high recidivism rates and therefore rehabilitation is not a desirable goal. Also, it reinforces racism. People of color are over-represented. This is the result of factors put in place by racist people and not because people of color are more criminal, but many people interpret the higher incarceration rate as evidence of white superiority. Plus, prisons are a breeding ground for white supremacists and neo-nazis. But perhaps the most disturbing (to me at least) is the dismissive attitude of rape in prisons. When it is actually acknowledged (and it is most certainly under reported do to intimidation, shame or complete lack of understanding what is and isn't consent) it is actually defended by some people as part of the punishment of prison. It is common for people to react to a criminal being sentenced by wishing they be raped in prison. Some are only "joking" but such jokes only help reinforce the idea that prisoners deserve whatever they get.
Great, now I have to go find some brain bleach so I don't cry myself to sleep.
stilladyj — November 4, 2012
The death penalty has always seemed less cruel to me than life imprisonment. Given the choice, I know which one I'd choose.
Debi Glen — December 8, 2012
Once an Inmate is in such a state of health , he / she should be transfered to a 1/2 way house so to speak with Hospice type services ... Sorry I would Not Want to Die Like those Pics are showing ... my arms don't go up now I am very sick .. those cuffs must Cut into those Wrists ? Please when you are no longer a Menace to Society ... ? I know to many Innocent People in Jail/prison ... and the One's who belong are on the outside still Doubling Dipping Welfare in 2 states or better by now ?
Blackman — September 4, 2016
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