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Virginia copes with older inmates.

The number of inmates 50 and older has doubled in Virginia during the past 10 years, from 2,015 in 1999 to 4,700 in 2009, reported the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The state has dedicated the male facility Deerfield Correctional Center in Capron, to geriatric inmates and inmates with special needs. The facility houses 1,080 inmates; 65 percent are older than 50 and 90 are in wheelchairs. According to the facility's head nurse, Bonita Badgett, 800 of the inmates have at least one chronic medical condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Ten years ago, the facility was selected to house the special population, and added on an 18-bed infirmary, a 57-bed assisted living dorm, a larger ancillary-care dorm, a dorm for diabetics and a dorm for other special-needs inmates.

A 1995 truth-in-sentencing ruling that led to no-parole sentences for many convicted of violent crimes is contributing to the aging inmate population. In general, older inmates cost more to house; they require more supervision and medical and mental health care, as well as special diets, mobility aids and special housing. This is compounded by the fact that inmates often lack adequate health care before incarceration, which can mean their physiologic age is 10 to 15 years older than their chronologic age.
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Title Annotation:Deerfield Correctional Center
Author:Gormsen, Lia
Publication:Corrections Compendium
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U5VA
Date:Mar 22, 2009
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