A recent Urban Institute analysis, which the article cites, looked at the trends and implications of aging prisoners in the largest correction system in the United States—the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The aging trend is most prominent among older female prisoners, violent and property crime convicts, and non-Hispanic white prisoners.
The analysis points out that older prisoners require special attention that tends to drive up operational costs. Many suffer from diabetes, heart failure or other chronic diseases, and are often vulnerable to victimization. To address this predicament, the Urban Institute recommends policy and research that includes:
- identifying the age at which older prisoners pose minimal risk of recidivism and can be more cost-effectively managed through noncustodial means;
- expanding data-driven knowledge on older prisoners, including estimates for the operating costs of incarceration;
- monitoring of older prisoners’ population growth; and
- developing cost-management plans for aging prisoners.