The prison population in the United States is on the rise. The fastest growing population in prisons are those who could be considered elderly. With the graying of our prison population comes many diseases of aging that will wreak havoc not just on the inmates, but on the costs of incarceration. Prison inmates cannot acquire their own medical care; it is the responsibility of society and hence the prison system itself. If the prisons cannot adequately care for terminally ill or elderly inmates then compassionate release should be considered. Compassionate Release Programs are designed to allow those inmates who are terminally ill or elderly to apply for early release. But it is very hard to get such petitions approved, much less understand who is truly eligible. Thus, very few inmates are being released to spend whatever time they have left with loved ones. Not only would Compassionate Release Programs save money but they would allow those inmates at the lowest risk of recidivism to die with dignity.
Hollern, Kendra A.
"Dying with Dignity: Where is the Compassion in Compassionate Release Programs?,"
International Journal on Responsibility: Vol. 1
, Article 6.
Available at: http://commons.lib.jmu.edu/ijr/vol1/iss1/6