What happens to an elderly inmate when they are released? Would it be beneficial to release more elderly inmates back into the community? The American population in general is becoming older, and correctional facilities are no exception to this. These inmates can place an exception burden on facilities and governments responsible for their care.
Conditions for the elderly and infirm are often extra challenging when they are kept in prison. Due to limited space, resources, and equipment, they are not easily made comfortable. Most prisons were not made with accommodating those who have difficult walking in mind. It is estimated that older prisoners are two to three times more expensive to care for than younger ones. And while incarcerated, inmates are not eligible for Medicaid or Medicare for treatment inside the facility.
Correctional health providers know how costly in time and dollars it can be to take care of elderly inmates. Releasing them to live out their days in the community provides a better general outcome. Increased usage of compassionate releases can help realize this. No matter what, it is an issue that will need more and more attention as populations age.