Louisiana to Vote on Parole for Elderly Prisoners Friday

On Friday, Louisiana’s H.B. 138, which would give inmates age 60 and older the right to have a hearing before a parole board to determine whether they could be safely released, heads to the Senate floor. This bill addresses an ongoing problem in Louisiana and across the nation: A growing geriatric population in our prisons, most of whom pose little to no risk to public safety, and cost taxpayers three times as much to imprison, on average, as younger inmates. Louisiana’s House of Representatives has already voted 65-25 in favor the bill.

When you consider Department of Justice statistics showing that prisoners 55 or older recidivate at a rate of just 2 percent and additional studies that show there is virtually no recidivism for individuals age 60 or older, Louisiana’s bill is a matter of simple common sense. At a time when state prisons are packed way beyond capacity and state budgets are stretched beyond the breaking point, every state should allow elderly inmates the opportunity to present their case to a parole board and be evaluated for release. If they are no longer threats to public safety, there is no reason for them to be incarcerated.

We recently released this video, featuring footage from Louisiana’s Angola prison and an interview with warden Burl Cain, to highlight just how clogged with elderly inmates the prison system truly is:

Please note that by playing this clip You Tube and Google will place a long-term cookie on your computer. Please see You Tube's privacy statement on their website and Google's privacy statement on theirs to learn more. To view the ACLU's privacy statement, click here.

If inmates pose no threat to public safety — with some barely able sit or stand up without assistance — you have to wonder, why are we wasting precious resources to keep them in prison? The bill that the Louisiana House overwhelmingly approved yesterday is right on target and is a common sense solution to this problem, both for Louisiana, and the country as a whole. The bill will be taken up for consideration by a Senate committee Friday. If you live in Louisiana, we urge you to TAKE ACTION by contacting your state Senator and telling them you want them to support HB 138.

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Anonymous

We should let criminals out of prison just because they have aged? That is so stupid! What happens when one of these criminals are released and sexually abuses someone's child or shoots/stabs someone. If they are incarcerated at the age of 60 its for a reason!

Anonymous

Simple fact of the matter is that the crime should determine how long a person stays in prison, not age.

bargirl57

NO THE STATE IN GOING BROKE. THIS IS NOT RELEASING SOMEONE THAT WILL TO HARM. THERE IS SUCH THING AS FORGIVENESS. THIS IS NOT STOPPING THE COURTS GIVING CITIZENS THAT ARE DOING THE SAME CRIME MANSLAUGHTER. NOT BECAUSE THEY DID LESS OF THE OLDER INMATES. INSTEAD WE NEED TO PUT THIS MONEY ON THE CHILDREN THAT'S IN FOR THEY GET A PROPER EDUCATION. SO THEY CAN BE PRODUCTIVE CITIZENS SO THEY CAN PAY TAX. DO THE MATH. PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE OLD INMATE SHOULD STAY IN PRISON. YOU NEED TO PAY.

Anonymous

I am absolutely in favor of releasing elderly inmates. Those of you who oppose this wonderful plan are obviously ignorant about the fact that the older an inmate is the less chance there is of him or her committing a new offense. There's probably a greater than 2% chance that YOU will commit a crime in your lifetime. Meanwhile, thousands of truly violent offenders are on the streets continuing to commit crimes because the jails and prisons are filled to capacity with people who are highly UNLIKELY to reoffend! They are out here in our streets because there is no place to put them.
I have worked in prisons and halfway houses and have found that most people in society believe that anyone who has ever been in prison goes back. That's because the media wants stories that insight intense emotion. Who cares about hearing that a former inmate is attending college, taking care of his or her family, holding a job or reaching out to help other people? We EXPECT everyone to do that. It seems that society lives to hear about the ones who fail.
Is it possible that someone with a 28 year heroin addiction could graduate from college, stay clean and sober for six years and work every day to help others? Sure is! Can a meth addict finish college,stay clean for years and work every day to help battered women and children? Sure can! Can a former alcoholic who shot someone in a fight attempting to protect a young child who was being beaten get out of prison , graduate from college and work to help other returning inmates? Sure can! You may THINK that you know about people because you watch the news. Is it possible that your pastor, your mechanic, the chef at your favorite bistro, your contractor, painter, bartender, hairdresser, landscaper, or computer programmer has a criminal history? Sure is, but if you don't see them on the news you will never know for sure.
Yes, some prisoners have done unspeakable things. Many others have made one horrible choice and have paid for it with a portion of their lives. Have YOU ever made a bad choice?
Am I a bleeding heart liberal? I don't think so. I've read a few files that made me want to flip the switch on the offender myself. On the other hand I have seen so many change their lives and become successful and productive citizens.
Sorry for the rant. I think it's time to consider who we need to use the prison beds for ------ young violent offenders or old men and women who are tired of crime. The text books call it "Aging out of Criminality."
It happens!

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