Harsh sentencing laws of the 1980s and ’90s have resulted in a U.S. prison population that is increasingly aged. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), care of elderly prisoners is placing a heavy burden on state and federal institutions. Elderly prisoners cost nearly twice as much to provide for as regular prisoners, and yet older prisoners who are released are significantly less likely to recommit crimes.
On Wednesday, the ACLU released “At America’s Expense: The Mass Incarceration of the Elderly,” a report examining the mushrooming number of prisoners in the U.S. over 50 and the resultant stresses exerted on the corrections system and on our society as a whole. The civil rights group said that states on average could save $66,000 per year for each elderly prisoner they release from the system.
According to the report, there are about 246,000 elderly prisoners in the U.S. (and, because incarcerated people age more quickly than people on the outside, over 50 is considered elderly in this study), a number that is only growing. By 2030, these older inmates will constitute more than a third of the incarcerated population.
ACLU economist William Bunting estimates that on average, each prisoner costs the state approximately $34,135 of taxpayer money per year to house. An elderly prisoner costs $66,270, nearly twice as much. Bunting estimates that by releasing non-violent elderly prisoners, the corrections system could save up to $16 billion annually.
Evidence shows that elderly people are significantly less likely to break the law. “In 2009, just over two percent of individuals between the ages of 50 and 54 were arrested, and virtually no one 65 or older was arrested. As a national average, just five to 10 percent of aging prisoners return to prison for any new crime,” said the press release accompanying the report.
The “tough on crime” and “war on drugs” years have left a legacy of stiffer, longer sentences for inmates with less flexibility for parole boards. According to Louisiana State Prison warden Burl Cain, “We bury more people than we release through the front gates.”
ACLU representative Marjorie Esman said, “Somebody who’s not going to do harm to another person shouldn’t have to die behind bars.”
Cain, Esman, the ACLU and the State of Louisiana have instituted one of the first parole boards dedicated to elderly prisoners. Louisiana currently boasts the highest number of incarcerated citizens of any state in the union. In 2011, a state parole board began to hear cases of elderly inmates petitioning for release.
Esman stressed that fewer prisoners means less of a burden on states, “What we really want to do is, of course, punish people for the harm they’ve done to society, but also to turn them into people who can be released and be productive taxpayers, rather than costing money.”
Watch video about this story, embedded via YouTube, below:
(image via YouTube screen capture)
‘Weakness doesn’t win elections’: Indivisible co-founder explains why members are holding #ImpeachTrump rallies
The growing support to commence impeachment proceedings by House Democrats is driven by their need to fire up grassroots support to hold control of the chamber, an Indivisible co-founder explained on MSNBC.
"The call for impeachment continues. this as protesters are hitting the street in more than 140 rallies planned across the country. Organizers say the "Impeach Trump" event is a day of action urging House Democrats to start impeachment proceedings," MSNBC's Richard Lui reported Saturday.
"A new survey from the indivisible project finds 80 percent of their respondents say the House should start impeachment proceedings," he noted. "Right now in the House, 63 Democrats and one Republican support impeachment."
‘Our police are protecting Nazis’: Detroit cops criticized for ‘marching’ with Nazis at Pride event
Members of the Detroit Police Department are being criticized for accompanying a group of self-described Nazis over the weekend at the city's Pride parade.
Activists reacted in alarm on Saturday after being informed that the Nazi group had been given a permit to protest at the Pride event. According to The Detroit News, police were assigned "to keep the protesters and attendees apart as they marched through the festival."
"Our police, when they should be protecting us, are protecting Nazis," one protester could be heard complaining in a video on Twitter.
Video catches white couple getting butt kicking on freeway after calling Latino family ‘beaners’
A fight broke out on highway 118 in California after a white couple allegedly called a Latino family "beaners."
According to a Twitter user with the handle @PattyMonstercx, her parents were cut off in traffic by the white couple.
An included video shows the white couple getting out of their SUV to confront Patty's family. A fight soon breaks out, which the white couple appears to lose.
Members of the Latino family can be heard calling 911 emergency services before the video ends.
Read the tweets and watch the video below.
Here’s a video of my parents fucking up an ugly ass racist couple who were trying to cut my parents off, and referred to my parents as “beaners” on the off ramp of the 118 today pic.twitter.com/W7wgRpgbXy