Older Women in Prison

The population of older prisoners in the United States is increasing exponentially that by 2030 one-third of the U.S. prison population will be geriatric. California has the largest prison system and the number of geriatric women has increased 350% just in the past decade.

The aging crisis is due to longer sentences, mandatory minimum sentencing laws and tighter parole policies.

Studies have shown prisoners are physiologically 10 years older than they are chronologically. Inmates are becoming more demanding and costly because of their physiological age, producing ballooning hidden costs.

The incarceration of geriatric prisoners is expected to rise considerably and the average cost is two to three times that of younger prisoners.

As a general rule, people become less dangerous as they age. Women in general are incarcerated for drug related and domestic crimes.

Prison regulations traditionally due not consider aging in the management of daily activities and assignments, this increases the vulnerabilities of older people.

Women reaching social security age are denied their benefits while incarcerated and face impediments to apply and receive this financial support for themselves and for their families.

(Information provided by OWL (Older Women’s League ))