Tuesday, September 28, 2021


Does North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's criminal-justice reform go far enough? Plus, Congress is running out of time to prevent a shutdown and default, and Oregon tackles climate change.


The nation's murder rate is up, the Senate votes on raising the debt limit, the DEA warns about fake prescription painkillers, a new version of DACA could be on the way, and John Hinckley, Jr. could go free next year.


A new Oklahoma museum honors tribal nations, while Iowa's history is back on the blacktop; mixed news on COVID-19 comes with a warning about unconventional drugs; and electric cars and buses are coming to rural America.

Missouri Takes Steps to Address the "Graying" of Prison Population


Monday, March 28, 2016   

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The number of older Americans serving prison sentences is on the rise, and those facilities weren't originally designed to accommodate an aging population.

Linda Redford is director of the Central Plains Geriatric Education Center at the University of Kansas.

She says Missouri is one state that has gotten ahead of the curve, by setting up enhanced-care units in some of the larger prisons and in some cases, people in prison are learning health-care skills by helping take care of each other.

She says that can benefit the older people, and the younger ones as well.

"I've often heard them say it's a way to pay back for what they've done, for whatever crime they've committed, that they feel now that they're finally able to give back," says Redford. "And in some cases, they know they're probably going to be aging and dying in prison, and they want someone there to care for them."

Redford points out that people in prison age faster than those on the outside, partly because of the lifestyles they led before they were arrested, which often included substance abuse and poverty.

She says most prisons aren't equipped to deal with so many people with cardiac disease, diabetes, dementia and other chronic conditions.

Although some states have an early-release program for elderly prisoners, Redford says that isn't the perfect answer because they often don't have anywhere else to go.

"Partly, we're in this mess because we emptied out all of our state hospitals for the mentally ill, and guess where they ended up," says Redford. "They ended up in our homeless shelters, dead, or in our prisons."

The aging of the prison population costs a lot. The federal Bureau of Prisons saw health-care expenses increase 55 percent from 2006 to 2013, when it spent more than $1 billion.

Every state is having to deal with increases in its older prison population, and Redford says Missouri deserves credit for what's been done so far.

"Missouri has probably moved as quickly as I've seen a state move, in terms of setting up the units within their prisons," says Redford. "But that isn't easy, because you have to retrofit a prison that was never meant for old people."

get more stories like this via email

Public schools need to minimize arrests at schools by using emergency mental-health teams instead of police officers to address behavioral incidents at school, according to a Sentencing Project report. (Adobe stock)

Social Issues

ARLINGTON, Va. -- As a Northern Virginia school system transitions away from using police officers in schools, a new report suggests COVID stimulus …

Social Issues

DES MOINES, Iowa -- In five weeks, voters in many Iowa cities will cast their ballots for local elections, and the Secretary of State's office is …

Social Issues

AURORA, Colo. -- School districts across Colorado had to get creative to ensure families could access critical meals during pandemic-related closures…

Companies behind a proposed natural-gas plant for Wisconsin hope to break ground by 2025. (Adobe Stock)


SUPERIOR, Wis. -- Legal proceedings continue involving a proposed natural-gas plant for northwestern Wisconsin. The plans have been approved by state …


PORTLAND, Ore. -- Draft rules are out for a program designed to confront climate change in Oregon, but organizations say it does not go far enough to …

West Virginia families have struggled to find and keep work, pay rent and bills, and care for kids and older relatives, and anti-poverty advocates say the pandemic has made things worse. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said lawmakers are slated to vote on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Thursday…

Health and Wellness

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A veterinary drug doctors call unsafe for treating COVID-19 has caused the deaths of two people in New Mexico, according to the …

Health and Wellness

BALTIMORE -- Spurred on by COVID challenges, a grant from the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council to two human services providers is …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021