Missouri's prisons see rise in number of elderly inmates
ST. JOSEPH (AP) - Missouri's population prisoners age 50 and older has steadily increased over the last decade.
The St. Joseph-News Press reports the population of inmates over 50 has grown from 10.1 percent in 2004 to 17.5 percent in 2013, according to the Missouri Department of Corrections.
George Lombardi, director of the department, says that prisoners, regardless of age, have a high risk of health issues due to their lifestyle choices, so adequate care must be provided.
Missouri periodically takes bids from private firms to provide health care, and the state currently has a contract that requires the department to pay $12.58 per day per prisoner. The department expects to pay about $146 million this year in expenses.
The rise of the aging population has also led to the introduction of pre-hospice programs, where fellow inmates are selected and trained to assist their ill cellmates.