14 September 2010

Prisons as nursing homes

"Beyrer is serving a 100-year sentence for rape and aggravated battery."

A story at the Washington Post last week highlighted the problem of elderly and chronically ill persons incarcerated by the state of Virginia.
Deerfield, Virginia's only geriatric prison, is where the state's inmates are sent to grow old. They're transferred to this facility in Capron, near the North Carolina border, when they're too weak to stand or feed themselves, when they don't have much time left.

Since the General Assembly abolished parole for the newly convicted in 1995, the number of elderly inmates in custody has soared. In 1990, there were 900 inmates over the age of 50. Now there are more than 5,000. Deerfield Correctional, which once housed 400 inmates, has become a 1,000-bed facility with a long waiting list.

"We're left trying to be both a nursing home and a prison," said Keith Davis, the warden...

It's an expensive endeavor: It costs $28,800 annually to house an inmate at Deerfield, compared with the $19,000 it costs at most of the state's medium-security prisons...

"These inmates might be old, and they might no longer pose a threat, but this is the price of committing a heinous crime," said Rick Kern, director of the Virginia Sentencing Commission...
Don't prices ever change?n  I'll bet lots of people are making a bundle of money from this situation.


  1. I think a better comparison would be to the annual cost of living in a traditional nursing home, not a prison.

  2. "I'll bet lots of people are making a bundle of money from this situation." - That is for certain! Unfortunately as this problem grows and it will - in every State - we will begin to see the public's contemplation of the privatization of our prisons. If privatization happens it will be worse than horrific.


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