Placement of elderly individuals is becoming increasingly difficult as less space is available. So many prisons are full because the elderly take up a high percentage of convicts in prison. This is due to no parole or life convictions. As a result, money is being spent in order to build new penitentiaries for all those found recently found guilty. Money is also being spent in order to take care of the elderly convicts. I found these articles extremely eye opening. The fact that so many elderly are in prison, some not receiving the proper medical attention, is an issue. There is another issue/debate revolving around the idea of early release. Should elderly prisoners be released early in order to make room for the dangerous convicts? While reading the Human Watch Report titled, “The Rest of Their Lives: Life Without Parole For Child Offenders in the United States” I came to a conclusion to this question. Can rehabilitation really occur? What is the difference between child offenders and murderers? I do not believe a child offender can really reform. I believe they can suppress their desires, but not fully control it. Therefore, elderly child offenders, rapists, etc. should not be considered for early release in order to free up prison cells. Yet, if a man or woman who is considered elderly (it differs from state to state) has shown a change and is ready to re-enter society, they shouldn’t be denied. People can reform and change, however they need to be in good condition, psychologically. I don’t think that child offenders can ever really be reformed because their condition is mental, as opposed to people who rob banks or decide to make a bad choice once in their life years prior. It is $33 for a normal prisoners medical expenses. However, an elderly person requires $100 dollars a day for expenses. So what can be alternatives to this problem? There can be a separate court systems for geriatrics just like there are for juveniles. I thought it was very interesting how 16 states already have separate housing for elderly inmates. Another option I thought would work, would be to release older inmates back into society to families or to a community support system. This way they have people to rely on for help and so they are not alone and homeless. If they see the good in people in the world, they can fully rehabilitate and live in society once more.
Posted on September 23, 2008 by lswarts