The New York Times article (Unkind Life For Young and Old, Aug 7) highlights yet another way the US wastes money. It costs $100,000 a year to maintain an aging prisoner, and prisons aren’t exactly geared for “aging in place.” They have unsafe stairwells, a ban on canes and of course no geriatricians on staff.
Geriatric prisoners rarely pose a threat to society so there’s little reason to keep them.
Jamie Fellner, author of a Human Rights Watch, was quoted in another article as saying, “Age should not be a get-out-of-jail-free card.” But why not? In some countries, people over 70 do not go to prison, period. I doubt that we’d see many people over 70 suddenly going on crime sprees; the rare cases of white collar crime, like Madoff, could be handled with supervised probation or fines.