CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, August 13, 2012

Chettiar, Bunting & Schotter on Mass Incarceration of the Elderly

Inimai M. Chettiar , William Bunting and Geoffrey Schotter (New York University (NYU) - School of Law , New York University (NYU) - School of Law and affiliation not provided to SSRN) have posted At America's Expense: The Mass Incarceration of the Elderly (American Civil Liberties Union, June 2012) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Elderly prisoners are twice as expensive to incarcerate as the average prisoner and pose little danger to society, yet the population of elderly prisoners in the United States is exploding. Our extreme sentencing policies and a growing number of life sentences have effectively turned many of our correctional facilities into veritable nursing homes — and taxpayers are paying for it.

This increasing warehousing of aging prisoners for low-level crimes and longer sentences is a nefarious outgrowth of the “tough on crime” and “war on drugs” policies of the 1980s and 1990s. Given the nation’s current overincarceration epidemic and persistent economic crisis, lawmakers should consider implementing parole reforms to release those elderly prisoners who no longer pose sufficient safety threats to justify their continued incarceration.

A new ACLU report, “At America's Expense: The Mass Incarceration of the Elderly,” makes a number of data-driven findings and issues recommendations for reform.

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