Magazine article Corrections Forum

Aging Inmates Strain Federal Prisons, U.S. Justice Report Says

Magazine article Corrections Forum

Aging Inmates Strain Federal Prisons, U.S. Justice Report Says

Article excerpt

An aging population of inmates is straining a federal prison system that lacks the resources, staffing and facilities to address its rapidly changing demographics, a U.S. government watchdog reported in May.

Inmates 50 and older are the fastest-growing segment of the prison population, increasing by more than 6,000, or 25 percent, from 2009 to 2013, while the number of younger inmates dropped by 1 percent, according to the report by the Justice Department's inspector general. Older inmates account for about 31,000 of the 164,600 inmates who were in the Bureau of Prisons' custody as of September 2013.

The report found that older prisoners are more expensive to detain, costing $24,538 annually, about $2,000 more than their younger counterparts. It also concluded that the Bureau of Prisons doesn't have the staff or training to address the needs of aging inmates, and prisons don't provide the proper programs for them.

Though older prisoners have the lowest recidivism rates, the report said, federal prison officials limit the number of aging inmates who can be considered for early release. …

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