Aging People in Prison Human Rights Campaign

The Graying of US Prisons

The population of aging and elderly prisoners in U.S. prisons exploded over the past three decades, with nearly 125,000 inmates aged 55 or older now behind bars, according to a report  by the American Civil Liberties Union. This represents an increase of over 1,300 percent since the early 1980s.

More than $16 billion is spent annually by states and the federal government to incarcerate elderly prisoners, despite ample evidence that most prisoners over age 50 pose little or no threat to public safety, the report said. Due largely to higher health care costs, prisoners aged 50 and older cost around $68,000 a year to incarcerate, compared to $34,000 per year for the average prisoner.

Unless dramatic changes are made to sentencing and parole policies, the number of older prisoners could soar as high as 400,000 by 2030, posing a tremendous threat to state and federal budgets, said Inimai Chettiar, a co-author of the report.

LA-Glenn Ford; 33 yrs in prison, exonerated of crime, died  a year after release. (Note: See and listen to ABC News report of meeting between Glenn Ford and prosecutor that put him in prison; on NEWS and ARTICLES page under Louisiana). NY- John McKenzie; 40 yrs. in prison, committed suicide after 10th parole denial, left behind 2 daughters. LA- Herman Wallace; 40 yrs. in solitary confinement, released Oct 1 2013, re-indicted Oct 3, 2013, died Oct 4, 2013. AL-Philip Chance; 33 yrs. in prison, exonerated of crime by two Michigan governors, died in Alabama prison, left behind 2 daughters. PA-Sharon Wiggins; 45 yrs. in prison, incarcerated at 17 yrs old, died in prison. (Note: See and listen to a young Sharon Wiggins in documentary; Life Sentence on the NEWS and ARTICLES page under Pennsylvania) PA-Dr. Joan Farquarhson; 43 yrs. in prison, died in prison. DC-Shahid Ali; 50 yrs. in prison, died 3 mths after release from prison in hospital, left behind 1 daughter.