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The Effect of Dementia Amongst Prisoners - Essay Sample

3 pages
616 words
Middlebury College
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The US correctional facilities are required by law to provide proper healthcare to the inmates. The increase in the population of old prisoners has presented a new challenge to the state and federal agencies. The standards of care as part of the legal principles are difficult to achieve because of the reduction of budget allocations to cater for the prisoners. The aged inmates suffering from conditions such as dementia are not receiving the specialized care in the correctional facilities. As a result, the government has to develop a comprehensive policy that will address the rising health costs. Notably, dementia is prevalent among prisoners mainly because of the living conditions in the prisons that contribute to poor mental health.

Dementia is a common condition among the aging prisoners that is relatable to the risk factors associated with health problems such as depression, trauma and HIV/AIDS that makes the old prisoners vulnerable and susceptible to mental instability. The daunting task that is placed on the prison officers is to take care of inmates who are sick. The inmates are problematic because they are unable to follow rules and are always in conflict with prison wardens and other prisoners. Noteworthy, the financial cost incurred in addressing dementia among the aging prisoners is triple the amount used in dealing with mental health issues experienced by the young inmates. Additionally, the cost of medical care for prisoners who are categorized as having been cognitively impaired is twice that of other category of inmates. This raises the overall expenditure of the government in ensuring the wellbeing of incarcerated citizens.

The State faces a dilemma because the prisoners must complete their sentence and it is their right to have quality healthcare care at the government`s expense. The policy initiatives that the US government can undertake to improve mental care for the aging inmates would necessitate cooperation with nursing homes so that there can be monitoring of the patients to reduce the overall effect on the prison facility management (Nancy Donaldson et al, 2013). The government should fast-track strategies that ensure releases programs and parole to aged prisoners who are no longer a concern for public safety. The early release program is informed by the statistics related to recidivism rates that are very low among the aged inmates. Many questions are fronted on the imperative of using government resources to take care of aged inmates who do not pose a risk to the larger society. The government should further invest in congregate facilities to lower the overall cost of dealing with dementia conditions among the inmates.

The mitigation strategy that is best likely to reduce the financial burden of dealing with dementia, which is common in the process of aging, is releasing some of the prisoners that have reformed and hence low possibility of receding to crime. The action by the administrators will ease the pressure on costs and help in managing the lethal convicts that are serving their sentences. Avenues adopted by the government must have the input of the public and the wellbeing of the prisoners as the central issues under consideration. The US government has to increase the number of centralized facilities that will offer medical services to prisoners when conditions such as dementia emerge due to longstanding challenges in the correctional facilities after serving long sentences. However, there is an immediate need for the government to upscale funding on the health responsibilities bestowed on it by the law on ensuing quality mental care for all the prisoners.


Nancy Donaldson, Todd Heisler, Soo-Jeong Kang and Catherine Spangler (2012), Dementia Behind Bars. New York Times Page A26.Retrieved from:

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