Aging prisoners a taxpayer burden
I doubt if the readers of this newspaper are aware that the population of older people behind bars has become a national crisis!
In New York state the number of incarcerated people over age 50 has risen 81 percent since 2000 and now exceeds 9,000. That’s almost 20 percent the total incarcerated population and the majority of them, over the age of 60.
In 2014 a “Participants in the Center for Justice Seminar” was held at Columbia University. Those who took part included the Osborne Association, the Correctional Association of New York, Fordham University and both of Columbia University’s School of Public Health and their Center for Justice.
The day-long event featured speeches by Brian Fischer, New York state’s former commissioner of corrections; Edward Hammock, former chair of the New York State Parole Board; Jamie Fellner, of Human Rights Watch; as well as a long list of prominent advocates from across the nation. All were in agreement that a more humane and less costly system of corrections, including formerly incarcerated people, needed to be addressed.
The symposium examined the growing numbers of aging people in prison, their prison conditions, their transition back into the community and the need to increase the release of aging people who pose little or no public safety risk.
Those in attendance also agreed that New York state, as well as other states, as well as the Federal Bureau of Prisons, can and should release many more older incarcerated people than they currently do.
A policy document was subsequently published by the Center for Justice at Columbia University and edited by Samuel Roberts, associate professor of History. The 161 page report – “Aging in Prison: Reducing Elder Incarceration and Promoting Public Safety” can be downloaded at: http://centerforjustice.columbia.edu/files/2015/10/AgingInPrison_FINAL_web.pdf
For those who go online, be sure to check on page XVIII where speaker after speaker indicates a high priority to the list of recommendations for reform and also to “expand and reform the parole process to stop using the ‘nature of the crime’ to bar release of older people serving long sentences,” and push also for the passage of the Safe and Fair Evaluations (SAFE) Parole Act (S01728/A02930), as well as expand the use of compassionate or medical release and clemency.
Since taxpayers are the ones paying these exorbitant costs to house the elderly, they need to let their legislators know to pass the Parole Act.
Original Article From Auburnpub.com
Correctional Association of New York releases “Solitary at Southport: A 2017 Report Based Upon the Correctional Assn.’s Visits, Data Analysis, & First-Hand Accounts of the Torture of Solitary Confinement from One of New York’s Supermax Prisons”
New York, NY (December 13, 2017): Today The Correctional Assn. of NY (CA), founded in 1844 and one of the oldest prison watchdog organizations in the country, released a 92-page report providing graphic first-hand depictions of physical, mental, and emotional abuse as a result of days, weeks, and often years of being caged in solitary confinement for 23 to 24 hours a day.Read More
To the Editor: Re “Serving as a Role Model During a Father’s Absence” (The Neediest Cases, Dec. 21): It’s nice to see young Jaylen benefit from the MentorCHIP program. But children whose parents are incarcerated need regular visits with their parents. Studies show that children’s emotional, scholastic and social adjustment improve when they have regularly [...]Read More
“Prison Within Prison: Voices of Women Held In Isolated Confinement in New York” is a collection of oral and visual observations from twenty women about their experiences being held in isolated confinement in New York’s women’s prisons and Rikers Island. They are advocates and leaders on a range of issues in the movement to end [...]Read More
WOMEN AND ISOLATED CONFINEMENT Women held in isolated confinement are subjected to dehumanizing treatment—treatment that makes it difficult for them to maintain their dignity, hygiene, nutrition and personal property. They can get in trouble for something as simple as attempting to talk to the person next to them. They are denied commissary privileges which provide [...]Read More