June 9, 2015

Expensive Old Man in Federal Prison

Someone handed Me an old USA Today article about skyrocketing prison medical expenses at Federal Correctional Institutions. The article stated that the Federal Prison population has aged and that prisoners over the age of 50 are the fastest growing segment of the prison population. The medical costs associated with the treating older prisoners has caused a significant dent in the Bureau of Prisons budget.

Here in Jesup, there are a number of older prisoners. Scores of prisoners line up daily for medications and insulin. There are HIV positive prisoners that require very expensive medications on a daily basis. Also, Prisoners regularly go to local hospitals for surgeries. A gentleman from the unit next door just got back from heart surgery. His bill was $ 106,000.00. A number of older guys have had knee surgeries to repair soft tissue injuries. ($ 18,000.00 a pop). The bureau of prisons is obligated to provide medical care to prisoners. In reality, the Bureau of Prisons would be better off sending these folks to home confinement to escape the liability it is incurring for their medical costs.

Legislation was introduced last March to address the rising cost of housing older prisoners. The legislation provides for the early release of older prisoners who are non-violent, first time offenders who are over 50 and have been model prisoners. The legislation would cut their sentences in half.

Since I fit the criteria of the legislation, I am, of course, a big supporter of the bill. (no surprise ?) Don’t worry, I am not holding my breath. Bills like this get introduced on a regular basis and always seem to die in some congressional committee.

I will simply remain an expensive old man in Federal Prison.

Ken Flaska

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