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50 the new 30? In prisons, yes

by Dara Kam | October 7th, 2009

The Florida Department of Corrections is worried about the aging population of its inmates.

The department has more than 14,000 geriatric inmates, nearly 15 percent of the 100,000-plus prisoners behind bars, DOC officials reported to a Senate committee this morning.

That might seem a bit high, but a sheepish DOC official gave this explanation: the department considers inmates over the age of 50 to be “geriatric.”

“Don’t shoot the messenger,” DOC governmental affairs director Katie Cunningham told the panel – only two of whom are younger than 50. Committee Chairwoman Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, is 48 and Sen. Ted Deutch, a Democrat from Boca Raton, is 43.

DOC has special geriatric dorms but wants to add more “old age” beds because the prison population is growing older as more baby boomers enter the system.

Lawmakers are likely to reconsider an idea that went nowhere last year to pare down the number of elderly prisoners: let them go home.

One option would be to make it easier for feeble or terminally ill prisoners to be released so their relatives or someone other than state taxpayers could pick up the tab for their care. That option would only be available to prisoners who aren’t dangerous.

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10 Responses to “50 the new 30? In prisons, yes”

  1. Richard Says:

    Put them all in tents. Because they are getting older and have special needs they want to upgraded living conditions?
    What about all the innocent people they robbed, harmed, etc.

  2. John Q Citizen Says:

    Housing a single DOC inmate costs us taxpayers approximately $27,000 per year. We could reduce the number of inmates by releasing non-violent offenders who are old and infirm, as well as non-violent drug offenders. The hundreds of millions of dollars in savings would allow us to reduce our tax bills, improve our education system, and/or dedicate more resources to prosecuting violent and sexual crimes. I say we give it a try. Why not?

  3. Salad Tosser Says:

    I’ve long embraced the idea of using condemed prisoners for medical research since their right to life has already been taken away.
    Equally, a man or woman in jail doing 25 years for non-violent crimes should be given every opportunity to reform themselves and earn an early release.

  4. rukiddingme? Says:

    Salad Tosser- Using prisoners for medical purposes is barbaric. They did it in Hitlers Germany.

    Too bad there isn’t a system in place to reform idiots. You might then stand a chance to be cured.

  5. evaluator2009 Says:

    Why not try what Maricopa County Arizona sheriff does? His programs could significantly cut down on current costs and possibly do what jail is, in part, supposed to do–discourage persons from committing crimes. If you haven’t heard of him, google: Joe Arpaio. Truthfully, 50 year olds can still be dangerous.

  6. fred Says:

    Kill them…kill them all.

  7. milt Says:

    I worked in prisons for 25 years. I once hadan inmate tell me that if someone cared about what he did when he was 15 he would have never been in prison. We have to care about all the children in the state. For now it will cost more money but in the future it will pay dividends,

  8. anon Says:

    Here’s a side to it you don’t really get to think about…The DOC gets money for each inmate daily, about $55. Thats why the jails are so loaded up. Judges etc know this and that why they push for jail time here in good old PBC, even for misdemeanor crimes. Its a racquet…prisoners sleeping on concrete floors, disgusting food. They have turned it into a money making scheme… Thats why there is no early release here for non-violent offenders, and all those holier than thou bloggers, watch your speeding tickets etc or you may get to join the ranks of those awful offenders sitting behind bars…there are people in there for even misdemeanor traffic infractions, just to drum up the numbers and dollars.

  9. Harry Houdini Says:

    The entire prison system is messed up. The current Secretary is probably one of the best they have had,ever. But the whole operation needs to be turned around. One possible solution is to look at privatization a bit more…..More importantly, we need to treat both ends of the spectrum. Early interdiction for young non violent offenders to keep them out of the system, and a no nonsense punishment for the habitual offender to keep them in jail so they don’t create more victims. Nothing wrong with punishment. Nothing wrong with tents and bologna on white bread…….

  10. just so you know Says:

    All the “law abiding citizens” posting here with your great advice give me pause. How you are so quick to judge and decide others fates. That sheriff in Arizona is a sadist and should be removed because he is dangerous. Prisons are big business with the highest prison population in the world here in the USA. Non violent offenders, drug addicts are filling up the prisons because its big money for them.Those that are old and frail and in prison have suffered enough. They are still human beings and deserve to be treated as such. Thats more than I can say for the ones posting on here. Shame on you.

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