Costs increase with state's aging prison population

Written by Mark Sims, Radio PA | Mar 25, 2018 9:38 AM

(Harrisburg) -- Pennsylvania's Corrections Secretary recently discussed the state's aging prison population with lawmakers in Harrisburg.

Corrections Secretary John Wetzel says the average age of inmates entering the corrections system has increased by 7 years over the past several years, something which he says could be attributed to the opioid crisis.

Wetzel also says the number of inmates over 50, which has tripled over the past 20 years, now make up about 21 percent of the state's prison population.

"80 percent of folks over 50 are on medication or receiving medical treatment.  So as our numbers get up, it's a cost-driver, certainly," he said.

The Corrections Department is seeking a $19 million increase for medical costs in its budget proposal.

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