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By Monica E. Oss

October 15, 2010

Recently, we ran two articles on the United States’ aging prison population – Proportion of Older Inmates in U.S. Prisons Grows from 3% in 1995 to 5% in 2008 and Florida Prisons House Five Times More Older Inmates in 2009 Than in 1994 .

I can’t say that the statistics in either of these articles surprised me. With an incarcerated population that has been steadily increasing since the 1980’s (due in part to the “war on drugs”), over the past three decades the number of individuals incarcerated in prisons and jails has more than quadrupled. And with 737 of every 100,000 individuals imprisoned, the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world.

These huge populations command an incredible amount of funding – an average $1 of every $15 state general fund dollars was spent on corrections during the 2007 fiscal year. And as incarceration rates continue to increase, so will the the proportion of prisoners who are aging and those with chronic disabilities.

This means that not only is corrections a huge public policy issue, but it also presents a potential opportunity for the provider community. Over the past year, we’ve kept up on the ways that states have been contracting health services out to private providers:

We’ll continue to keep you up-to-date on all the latest trends and opportunities. You can always e-mail us your questions and comments at


Monica E. Oss
Chief Executive Officer, OPEN MINDS


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To read more on the corrections system, see: Prison Spending Outpaces All But Medicaid all members 

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