The Struggles of an Elderly Prisoner

I believe that one of the most difficult tasks when dealing with elderly prisoners has to be the fact that so many of them are in poor states of health. A couple things factor into this, including poor health behaviors before being incarcerated, alcohol or drug abuse in the past, smoking cigarettes, lack of inactivity. All of these amount to countless problems when dealing with the older inmates. They must be given special medical attention depending on their types of needs which range from diabetes, heart problems, arthritis, vision problems, and other common geriatric medical issues. This means that many depend on medications in order to help them stay alive and well. Now at first it may seem like no big deal that a prisoner has to take many medications to function properly, but what if that prisoner is going to be released soon. Odds are that he or she will not be able to access the same type of medications and treatment that they receive while in prison. Thus once they are released they will go back to drugs or alcohol as a means of self-medicating, which could lead to trouble with the law once again and back in prison.

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3 Responses

  1. Yeah, that’s a very good point. My problem with the entire concept of recidivism is that it is most common to just attribute the return to prison as a result of the prisoners inabilities to understand right from wrong. But it’s SO important to understand the social conditions of where they were released to, and although these can’t be means of shortening their prison sentence (i.e. just because there is no family support, the government cannot sympathize with the new crime committed because that is too subjective) it can be used to help future prisoners released through social programs that are COMPLETELY SEPARATE from the criminal justice program but government funded and focused on helping released prisoners with advice. Some of the other problems include the inability to find a job, not having any support from friends or family, not knowing where to go from there in terms of lifestyle, and not having the respect of people due to their conviction. It’s hard to “reform” yourself when society in general will always see you in terms of your mistake.

    This isn’t really related to the elderely–but I’m not going to lie; I was reading through the sex offender website once to see who lives nearby me, and I just got this really creepy, scared feeling. I don’t think I have actually ever seen the people from the site, but many live just down the street from me, and if I ever did see and recognize them, I know for sure I would be uncomfortable and already have judged them by their crime. Most people would–it’s natural but minimizes the chances of convicts to change as they will always see themselves as society sees them.

  2. I think another point that goes along with the problem with incarcerating the elderly is that it costs way too much money. Imprisonment enough is very expensive (I’m not sure the exact average amount but I’m sure it’s over $30,000 per year, per inmate). Does anyone know what it is exactly? On top of all the other arguments made in the other posts , I think that it’s just way too expensive to have people get older in prison. There are more positives to release these individuals than there are negatives.

  3. Last I checked, it was approximately $30,000 to house one inmate per year. Same as it would to put a student through 1-year of college. I believe if money was spent on rehabilitation programs, the recitivism rate would eventually decrease. When you treat people like animals, that is what they turn into. If you treat people like human beings, they act with dignity and respond as human beings, not crazy, killing animals. However, I do believe that there are some criminals that just cannot be rehabilitated. Like for instance, serial killers and child molesters/rapists. I feel no mercy for these criminals.

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