FLORIDA (WALA) - According to the Florida Dept. of Corrections, more than half of elderly inmates are incarcerated for violent crimes such as murder. The state has no choice but tend to their medical needs.
- In Florida, 17,492 inmates are considered to be elderly: 50 years old or older. Some 95 percent of those are male; the remaining 5 percent are female.
- Elderly inmates make up 17.1 percent of the entire population of the Florida prison system.
- The bulk of inmates are 50-55, with inmates over 76 making up only 1.3 percent of the population.
- Some 20 percent of inmates are serving time for muder/manslaughter, and another 20 percent for sexual offenses, by far the most frequent charges.
- It costs $53.34 on average to house an inmate in Florida. After an inmate reaches 60, it costs on average 4 times that amount.
- Elderly inmates that are physically able work in community work programs. Those inmates worked some 4.2 million hours in community service last year, saving taxpayers in Florida more than $53 million.
- The number of annual admissions of inmates 50 or older has jumped from 4.75 percent in 2000 to 9.32 percent in 2010.
- Of those admissions in 2010, only 57 were 70 or older.
- 11 of the oldest inmates have sentences of 5 years or less.
- The typical inmate 50 years old or older is a white male who has served at least one prior sentence in prison.
- The average sentence for inmates 50 years or older is 24 years, most often serving time for first-degree murder or attempted first-degree murder.
- In most facilities, the number of inmates 50 or older makes up less than 25 percent of the entire facilities' population.
- Prison officials try and house older inmates together when possible. The River Junction Work Camp in Chattahooche, Fla. is composed of more than 87 percent inmates over 50.
- Elderly women inmates utilize health services more frequently than men: twice as many clinical visits are made by women inmates than men.
- The Florida DOC paid some $88 million for health care to inmates last year.
- There were 171,174 emergency hospitalizations, 2,937 surgeries, 5,435 emergency room visits, 51415 examinations by specialty doctors and 21,801 tests—such as laboratory tests or x-rays.
- Inmates over the age of 50 accounted for 47 percent of all hospital stays, but are only 17 percent of the total prison population.
- In Florida, the department dispensed 1,782,564 prescriptions to inmates in its custody, or an average of 13 prescriptions per inmate per year.
- Inmates over 50 received an average of 37 prescriptions per inmate, accounting for nearly $18 million in prescription drugs for that population alone.
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