Aging Inmate Population Will Drive Up Health Costs
A rapidly aging population at California prisons will lead to higher prison health care costs in the coming years, according to a study released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California, the AP/San Jose Mercury News reports.
According to the report, it costs two to three times more to house and care for elderly inmates compared with younger inmates. Inmates ages 50 and older account for 11% of the prison population, up from 4% in 1990, the report finds. Inmates younger than 25 years old account for 14% of the population, compared with 20% in 1990.
The AP/Mercury News reports that prison health care reforms being ordered by receiver Robert Sillen likely will costs taxpayers more than previously estimated.
Rachel Kagan, a spokesperson for the receiver's office, said Sillen plans to address geriatric care at prisons but first is focusing on other areas.
The report was one of three studies presented to lawmakers on Wednesday during a special legislative session called by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) to address overcrowding in the state's prison system (Thompson, AP/San Jose Mercury News, 8/10).
Two newspapers on Thursday published editorials addressing the state prison system. Summaries appear below.
Contra Costa Times: It is "most important" that "health care ... be taken out of the hands of the prison system permanently," possibly by creating a "combined state agency" to administer health care services to prison inmates, a Times editorial states (Contra Costa Times, 8/10).
- San Francisco Chronicle: "The Legislature must cast its net as widely as possible to gather the best ideas for reforming a system that is at a boiling point," according to a Chronicle editorial. The "correctional crisis ... can no longer be ignored," the Chronicle states (San Francisco Chronicle, 8/10).