The Economist: ‘America’s Elderly Prisoner Boom’

America's elderly prisoner boom _ The Economist

Source:The Economist– growing old in a California prison.

Thanks to ultra-long sentences, America’s 2.3m prisoners are getting older. Under the ‘Gold coats’ programme in California, younger inmates look after elderly ones…

From The Economist

A couple of things hit me when I watched this video. One, the fact that America at least at the state level, has moved away from prison industries in too many cases and instead has turned prison into warehouses, where inmates either grow really old there, or are essentially just waiting to die with no real reason to live, even in prison.

One of the consequences of prison warehouses is that taxpayers get stuck paying for the cost of living of people, especially elderly inmates, who could’ve been working this whole time even in prison. And paying for their own cost of living. Including the lifers and putting money away for their retirement in prison.

The other thing that hit me, was that prisons have become the place where we send all of our difficult and challenging members of society. All of our outsiders, that are guilty of some felony, especially violent felonies, end up in prison. Which makes prisons in America very expensive.

Prison’s, should be for felons, especially violent felons.

Mental hospitals, state hospitals for the criminally insane, should be for criminally insane and mentally handicapped people who are convicted of felonies and are violent.

Jails, should be for people awaiting trial and for small time criminals, especially if they’re doing short sentences.

Halfway houses, should be for convicted felons, who don’t pose a major threat to society. They need either rehab, or learn a trade and do community service. But by in-large are productive people, or can become productive people, who just need a path to make that happen.

Retirement homes and senior homes, should be for seniors, including convicted felons, who can’t take care of themselves. Who pose no threat to anyone other than maybe themselves.

I’m not saying that we should transfer every senior inmate to private senior citizens homes. But we need a senior health care system for our senior inmates, who are just too weak to take care of themselves at this point in their lives, let alone strong enough to hurt innocent people. And set up senior homes outside of prison, for our senior inmates, that could be run by the private sector. That could be paid for by the senior inmates themselves. Based on the money they’ve earned the whole time they’ve been in prison. Instead of sending every single person in America, who poses some challenge to society, or did pose some challenge, to prison.

About Erik Schneider

Full-time blogger on a multiple ray of topics and subjects, because of multiple interests.
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