The main idea of the article is the current problem regarding the growing number of elderly prisoners in Florida’s prisons (Florida’s Aging Prisoner Problem, 2014). Despite the fact that crime rates have decreased significantly, the number of prisoners is increasing fast. This rapid increase poses a threat to the proper care of elderly prisoners. The rapid increase means that prisoners will require more medical care, which will hike the costs of running prisons.
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The author argues that it is important for the government of Florida to implement policies that will deal with the problem (Florida’s Aging Prisoner Problem, 2014). The Department of Corrections is already struggling and in need of reforms. In addition, the author notes that the problem needs a flexible solution that will lower the costs of caring for prisoners and avoid the probability of jeopardizing public safety. According to estimates, the population of the elderly in Florida prisons will increase to 25, 000 by the year 2015 (Florida’s Aging Prisoner Problem, 2014).
This will increase the cost of providing quality health care to prisoners. Consequently, taxpayers will be required to pay more money to the criminal justice system. The article presents several recommendations for solving the problem. The current number of elderly prisoners stands at 4,100 (Florida’s Aging Prisoner Problem, 2014). This increase will have great financial implications because the annual health care cost for an elderly prisoner is approximately $11,000 (Florida’s Aging Prisoner Problem, 2014). If the problem is not addressed swiftly, it might create more problems that will have far-reaching economic implications.
I chose the article because it deals with a critical budgeting issue facing an important area of criminal justice in Florida State. Prisoner correction is an important area of the criminal justice system that aims to improve public security and safety. The article is relevant because it explores a problem that needs to be addressed swiftly. In addition, the problem has severe financial implications on the welfare of taxpayers who are under stress to pay more taxes in order to adequately fund the Department of Corrections. Finally, I chose the article because it makes reference to a study conducted that offers statistics regarding the extent of the problem.
The author makes several recommendations aimed at mitigating the problem. First, conducting a thorough study of the cost implications regarding the rapid increase of the elderly population is critical. This is necessary because it will enable policymakers to implement policies to cater to the needs of the new population. The author cites the recommendations of a report titled “Florida’s Aging Prisoner Problem” that recommends several methods of dealing with the problem (Florida’s Aging Prisoner Problem, 2014).
According to the report’s suggestions, offering clemency or early release to some prisoners would help to ease pressure in prisons. One group that could be released is that comprising non-violent prisoners who are about to complete their sentences (Florida’s Aging Prisoner Problem, 2014). In addition, prisoners who require end-of-life care should be allowed to leave in order to receive quality care from their families.
I think that the prisoner population problem is one of the most critical challenges facing Florida’s criminal justice system at the moment. One of the most important aspects to consider when finding appropriate solutions is community safety. Solutions to the problem should aim to reduce the costs of caring for prisoners while at the same time improving community safety. Releasing elderly prisoners who are nearing their end of the sentence is a viable solution to the problem. However, great care should be taken to avoid releasing prisoners who are not completely reformed. The release of such prisoners could compromise public safety.
Early parole for prisoners is also a feasible solution. The department of Corrections should release elderly prisoners who do not pose any threat to community safety. The health care costs for elderly prisoners are higher than the costs for young prisoners. Therefore, the priority for parole should be given to elderly prisoners. The release should be accompanied by stringent parole measures that will discourage recidivism. The state government should also offer jobs to prisoners after release in order to prevent them from thinking of turning to crime for survival. Public safety is more important than the financial implications of the problem. Therefore, maintaining or improving public safety should be a priority.