January 27, 2012

Conclusion

Absent significant changes in sentencing and release policies, the number of aging and infirm men and women confined in US prisons will continue to grow.

The rising tide of aging prisoners in the United States makes imperative renewed and careful thinking about how to protect the rights of the elderly while in prison, and about how age and infirmity can render continued incarceration a violation of human rights. Wholly apart from human rights considerations, however, states and the federal government should question whether the continued incarceration of those who are well advanced in age and are infirm is a sensible use of limited financial and human resources.