Dignity Denied: The Price of Imprisoning Older Women in California

Legal Services for Prisoners with Children

in Interrupted Life

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780520252493
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944565 | DOI:
Dignity Denied: The Price of Imprisoning Older Women in California

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California legislators currently face an urgent fiscal crisis generated by the graying of the state's prison population. Because of “tough on crime” policies such as mandatory minimum sentences, the “Three Strikes” law, and a general reluctance to release long-term prisoners on parole, more Californians are growing older in prison than ever before. Older prisoners are costly to care for, yet research indicates that many of these older inmates represent a relatively low risk of reoffending and show high rates of parole success. Some older inmates may be good candidates for community placement. Perhaps some who committed murder a long time ago truly no longer pose a threat to society. Prisons are alien and intimidating places to people struggling with the sensitivities and vulnerabilities of old age and illness. California policy makers must take measures to ensure the rights and dignity of older women prisoners and create community-based alternatives to their incarceration.

Keywords: California; fiscal crisis; older women; women prisoners; older prisoners

Chapter.  1461 words. 

Subjects: Gender and Sexuality

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