Dementia, a disease characterized with the loss of brain functions; loss of memory, thinking and ability to reason clearly, has been on the rise in the American prisons. Law on the mandatory sentencing of criminals in the 1970s gave rise to the present high population of inmates and the costs associated. This disease associated with the elderly, is evident in the states and federal prisons with the numbers of elderly inmates on the rise, 125 000 by 2010. The budgets amounting from the costs incurred in the furnishing of specialized care to these inmates who cannot even clean or dress themselves are high. The inmates expect their health costs taken by the federal government being a part of state corrections costs still on the rise. The federal government and state agencies have to work on strategies focused at reducing the rising costs of the aging inmate population (NYT, 2012).
The federal government should spearhead its campaigns ...view middle of the document...
With this in place, federal government will be able to point out inmates that are receiving health care. The inmates that receive mental healthcare and are frail should have the allowance of getting back to the community. These inmates have no use behind bars for they are no threat the society and themselves too. If one cannot be able to feed, clothe or wash oneself, they should not be of threat to anyone; this time round they depend on us to help them out. The federal government will save a lot of revenue from the reduced cost of mental healthcare offered; fewer elderly inmates needing care, reduced costs. Total of 40,000 US Dollars can saved when a single inmate aged 80yrs and above released from prison (NYT, 2012).
Focusing in the early 1970s when the federal government decided to get tough on the rising crimes in the streets, it decided to pass policies that stated mandatory sentences to those guilty of vindicated crimes. Then, inmates received long jail sentences; serving most of their life time in behind bars. Judges gave sentences obligated to policies set. Population of the inmates in the correctional facilities was on the rise. A revisit and revising of the set policies is mandatory reducing number of maximum years an inmate serves and serving fines and bonds for petty crimes rather than sending everyone to prison. This will reduce the high costs of the healthcare provided to correctional facilities (NYT, 2012).
In conclusion, costs of mental health care provided to inmates in correctional facilities are high as the number of aging inmates suffering from dementia needing care is on the rise. This has been due to the mandatory sentences policies set by federal government in the 1970s. To reduce the costs and provide quality health care to the aging inmates, the federal government and state agencies has to consider privatization, compassionate release programs to the frail aging inmates and revisiting and amending the mandatory sentence policies.
The New York Times, (2012). Dementia Behind Bars. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/26/opinion/dementia-behind-bars.html?_r=2&ref=opinion&p&