Report | Aging prisoners | Corrections spending | Sentencing | Lifers | Medical costs | Parole | April 2010
By the Vera Institute
As harsher policies have led to longer prison sentences, often with a limited possibility of parole, correctional facilities throughout the United States are home to a growing number of elderly adults. Because this population has extensive and costly medical needs, states are confronting the complex, expensive repercussions of their sentencing practices. To reduce the costs of caring for aging inmates—or to avert future costs—legislators and policymakers have been increasingly willing to consider early release for those older prisoners who are seen as posing a relatively low risk to public safety.This report is based upon a statutory review of geriatric release provisions, including some medical release practices that specifically refer to elderly inmates. The review was supplemented by interviews and examination of data in publicly available documents.