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Costs Of Aging Inmates

Video unavailable. Read transcript below.

Video published January 20, 2010 | Download MP4 | View transcript

Above: As an inmate ages, his expenses behind bars can nearly triple as he requires more health care.

KPBS wanted to calculate how much money the state pays to incarcerate an inmate for a life sentence.

We assume this inmate is not released after 25 years, which in California has been the trend according to parole statistics.

Assume Inmate X was incarcerated when he was 37.

For now, he costs taxpayers about $49,000 a year.

That’s until he reaches 55.

As he ages, his health care expenses will increase. At this point he could cost the state $150,000 a year.

If Inmate X lives until he’s 77, he will have cost California taxpayers as much $4 million to keep him in prison for life.

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Avatar for user 'salzkidd'

salzkidd | January 26, 2010 at 7:05 a.m. ― 7 years, 2 months ago

I watched your program Monday night and had mixed feelings. The one thing I wanted to know was a comparison on costs to the government (and us) for these same medical expenses outside of prison to those you provided in prison. I understood the issues and problems and agreed until I heard the crimes some of these inmates committed. Knowing a couple of those seriously ill men were pedophiles made me angry and hateful, I only wished they did not get as good a treatment as they are getting. I did not feel as harsh against those found guilty of murder, but had I a loved one that was a victim I am sure I would feel the same towards them as I feel towards sexual predators, especially pedophiles. I saw that Gov. Schwarzenegger is looking towards Mexico to help relieve the problems, and I don't see that being a problem, except maybe security or corruption within the prison personnel. I am wondering costs could be offset if prisoners were given (money) points that could help them pay in an abstract way towards better health care and a more feasible way to be paroled after the age of 50 or so, or after being imprisoned for more than 10 years. I do have concerns for recidivism of sexual offenders. I can see how a sexual predator could easily be the ideal prisoner, if there are no temptations in prison, but even as an old, sickly man, I feel they can and will likely be tempted to recommit sexual crimes more than other prisoners that have spent time well in prison.

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