Parole For The Elderly

Topics: Prison, Medicine, Criminal justice Pages: 5 (1147 words) Published: January 28, 2015

Parole For The Elderly


Evelyn Diaz


Tina Sebring

Paroling the elderly and sick could be the best way to deal with the cost and overcrowding of he prisons. There is a large number of inmates who are elderly and have served half their sentence or more. Even though this is a good idea there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration. The most important of these factors is community safety. In this paper, we will discuss the arguments for and against keeping sick and older adult prisoners in jail.

With the rising cost of medical care for the more elderly and chronically ill in the prison system the state has to find a way to bring down costs. One of the ways they are trying to accomplish this is by reviewing and modifying the Compassionate Release Law. Through this law, prisoners are considered for early release or modification of sentence because of age and or illness. Wisconsin is one of the many states that is suffering from financial constraints of maintaining its prison population. Wisconsin's inmate population increased by 14 percent from 2000 to 2007 and the State Corrections budget rose by 71 percent from 1999 to 2005. Health care costs for adult prisoners in Wisconsin rose from $2.8.5 million to $87.6 million from 1898 to 2005. It estimates that the cost of providing medical care for older prisoners will to $25 billion from 2009 to 2019 (O’Meara. 2010). These rising costs are calling for a reviewing by Wisconsin and other states of the correctional system's early release programs for the elderly and ill inmates. One of the reasons for this reconsideration is a change in the standards of compassionate release law for prisoners in state correctional facilities. The new change expands the category of eligibility for sentence modification and streamlines the procedure. Much-reviewing needs to be done in regards to this law.

To many it may sound like this is the best solution to bring down costs of correctional facilities. Even though it may bring prices down in prisons, it may bear the financial burden to the families and communities to which they are released. When these prisoners are released, they will most likely have no form of employment and may be too old or too sick for work. Many states and cities are feeling the financial strain because of the rise in unemployment. It is hard enough for law abiding citizens of any age to get a job, so the releasing more jobless individuals is an added burden to communities. The families who these prisoners come home also to face the added financial burden of having to care and provide for the elderly or sick relative. More government funds would then have to allocate to these communities help with the added costs of housing and the medical care of these released prisoners. Milwaukee, for example, is recognized as a city suffering from poverty. A recent study in the past forty years has revealed that economically no other city has fallen as fast, far, or hard as Milwaukee. In nearly every social index, Milwaukee falls to the bottom of the list. Recent studies have also shown that Milwaukee has a high rate of unemployed Blacks and Hispanics (O’Meara, 2010). The State Department of Corrections spent more that $27 million a year to care for inmates in extended supervision that includes goods, care, and services. Extended supervision is a way to extend something like parole so that older or ill prisons can complete sentence outside prison walls. An additional amount of $5 million was requested and denied by Wisconsin's Legislature. The denial of these funds may end up costing the state more because it may either make compassionate release practically impossible in many inmates' cases or lead families already having financial difficulties in even more distress. The high costs of keeping the elderly and ill incarcerated and the burden on families and communities they are released to are two issues that need to...

References: O’Meara G. J., 2010 Compassion and the Public Interest: Wisconsin 's New Compassionate Release Legislation, Retrieved from Week 5 Federal Reserve Reading
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