At America's Expense: The Mass Incarceration of the Elderly

At America’s Expense: The Mass Incarceration of the Elderly, American Civil Liberties Union, June 2012

NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 12-38

NYU Law and Economics Research Paper No. 12-19

99 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2012 Last revised: 11 Sep 2012

Inimai M. Chettiar

New York University (NYU) - Brennan Center for Justice; New York University School of Law

W.C. Bunting

U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division

Geoffrey Schotter

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: June 13, 2012

Abstract

Elderly prisoners are twice as expensive to incarcerate as the average prisoner and pose little danger to society, yet the population of elderly prisoners in the United States is exploding. Our extreme sentencing policies and a growing number of life sentences have effectively turned many of our correctional facilities into veritable nursing homes — and taxpayers are paying for it.

This increasing warehousing of aging prisoners for low-level crimes and longer sentences is a nefarious outgrowth of the “tough on crime” and “war on drugs” policies of the 1980s and 1990s. Given the nation’s current overincarceration epidemic and persistent economic crisis, lawmakers should consider implementing parole reforms to release those elderly prisoners who no longer pose sufficient safety threats to justify their continued incarceration.

A new ACLU report, “At America's Expense: The Mass Incarceration of the Elderly,” makes a number of data-driven findings and issues recommendations for reform.

Keywords: mass incarceration, elderly prisoners, aging prisoners, sentencing reform, parole reform, criminal justice, fiscal analysis, state budgets

Suggested Citation

Chettiar, Inimai M. and Bunting, W.C. and Schotter, Geoffrey, At America's Expense: The Mass Incarceration of the Elderly (June 13, 2012). At America’s Expense: The Mass Incarceration of the Elderly, American Civil Liberties Union, June 2012 ; NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 12-38; NYU Law and Economics Research Paper No. 12-19. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2120169

Inimai M. Chettiar (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Brennan Center for Justice ( email )

161 Avenue of the Americas
12th Floor
New York, NY 10013
United States

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

William Bunting

U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division ( email )

United States

Geoffrey Schotter

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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