State prisons adapting to graying, infirm inmates

Capital News Service
LANSING — When you imagine a state prison inmate, you might think of someone young and tough with arms covered in tattoos and muscles swollen from hours of pumping iron in the yard. How about wrinkled and gray with arthritic hands gripping a walker or spinning the wheels on a wheelchair? Despite an overall decline in prison population, the number of inmates above the age of 65 has increased 78 percent to 1,073 during the past decade. Those inmates make up about 2.5 percent of the prison system, but with more baby boomers entering old age, that number will only go up, officials warn. It’s a fact the Department of Corrections can’t ignore.