Jan. 11, 2024
by Robert Outman (author's profile)

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DO THE MATH, and maybe?, THE LOGIC

Sacramento, CA, The Legislative Analysts Office (LAO) reports California has a budget deficit of $68 Billion dollars for 2023-24 fiscal year, the largest deficit yet of the State. Consequently the guardians of public trust are scrambling to stop the taxpayers' cash hemorrhage.
While these financial Titans look for ways and means to stop the revenue bleed an old adage holds true "There are none so blind than those who will not
see."

The same LAO that reported the behemoth deficit, in May 2010 warned the State financial wizards there is a mastodon money gobbler in the state closet that needs to be addressed: ELDERLY INMATES IN CALIFORNIA PRISONS costing two to three times more than a regular prisoner. The wizards ignored the alert.
Ten years later the California Finance Department reported in the 2021-22 fiscal year it will cost taxpayers $113,000. per year per prisoner. Using LAO's calculus at 2 1/2 times taxpayers are forking out $282,000. per year per old harmless prisoner per year in a leviathan annual prison budget of $14.1 Billion dollars. The mastodon money gobbler gets hungrier every year.

California United for a Reasonable Budget (CURB) reports there are 35,000 prisoners in California of senior status approximately 30% of the prison population. AGING & MENTAL HEALTH, 2021, VOL. 25, NO. 2, 260-268 published an in depth study on aging in prison quoting scholars with a consensus of opinion elderly prisoners are the most harmless prisoner class, most costly and most likely not to recidivate. PRISON POLICY INITIATIVE of Massachusetts, gathers statistics from academia across the United States, Emily Widra, a Senior Research Analyst, August 2, 2023 wrote "It doesn't make sense to spend so much money locking people [elderly] up in places that are not only dangerous to their health, but more costly to care for them - especially when there is little public safety argument to justify doing so." Scholars can find no sense in punishing benign elderly prisoners to death: senicide.

California aware of growing fiscal, moral and ethical concerns over State sponsored senicide introduced "ELDERLY PAROLE." Looking behind the proverbial curtains Elderly Parole is nothing more than a rhetorical device to appease the public. In a REPORT OF SIGNIFICANT EVENTS the Parole Board proudly reported an 82% denial of Elderly Parole petitions.

Put aside the moral and ethical aspects of punishing harmless old men to death, the question is, in a difficult economy how can our guardians of public trust allow taxpayers to suffer such a financial burden when many struggle to make ends meet?

In logic calculus an aphorism in bias holds "When asked, the fox will always say all chickens are dangerous."

20 December 2023

Robert H. Outman
Prisoner P-79939
http://betweenthebars.org/blogs/895/

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FatherJohn Posted 1 month, 1 week ago. ✓ Mailed 3 weeks, 4 days ago   Favorite
Your arguments are compelling. State and federal governments spend increasingly more money on consistently inadequate healthcare for their growing populations of older adults. While most studies on the steep costs of incarcerating older people date back at least a decade, their findings are consistently dramatic. For example, in California prisons in the 1990s, the state spent three times as much money to incarcerate an older person than someone of any other age group. Considering the proportion of California’s prison population over the age of 50 has risen from about 4% in 1994 to 25% in 2019, and that prison healthcare spending per-person has ballooned in the intervening years, the cost of incarcerating older adults only appears to be growing. In 2013, the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) spent 19% of its total budget — or $881 million — to incarcerate older adults. That same year, the BOP reported this group was the “fastest-growing segment of its inmate population” with a 25% increase over a single year (as the rest of the population decreased by 1%).As long as people are in prison, they should receive the care they need to be safe and healthy. But especially at the state and local level, every dollar spent in prisons is a dollar that could have expanded and improved community health services — and provided superior care. It doesn’t make much sense to spend so much money locking people up in places that are not only dangerous to their health, but more costly to care for them — especially when there is little public safety argument to justify doing so. As a result of the disastrous failure to make use of existing release systems and increasing public pressure to address the aging prison population, prisons have adapted in very troubling ways. In Connecticut, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, departments of corrections have created “prison nursing homes” to keep people incarcerated even when they are far too sick or frail to represent any public safety threat. The continued incarceration of people who would otherwise be receiving residential or long-term care reflects a troubling trend of prisons “gearing up to become nursing homes but without the proper trained staff and adequate financial support.” To provide older incarcerated people with adequate healthcare, end-of-life care, and dignity, we need to find ways to reduce their numbers in all parts of the carceral system. Existing tools — like compassionate release and parole — can help but are not enough to address this problem on their own. States should follow the lead of advocates who are fighting to reduce police encounters, end draconian sentencing like life without parole, and expand release mechanisms like elder parole. Reducing barriers to enrollment in Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and ensuring people have safe places to live in our communities can expand the safety net for older adults leaving prison. Ultimately, the benefits of such changes will not be recognized.

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