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By Keone Wallace

The vast majority of people who die in prison die from illness and old age (natural causes). So to seriously reduce the number of deaths in prison advocates could focus on obtaining early release for ill and elderly prisoners. While releasing prisoners is rarely popular among the general public, there are a few cracks in the system through which we could begin to make this argument. It is very expensive to house incarcerated ill and elderly prisoners. During our current national fiscal crisis, targeting potential strategies for reducing spending can be an effective tool for arguing for decarceration. A majority of states already have laws for “medical parole” or “compassionate release” of dying prisoners or prisoners whose medical needs cannot be met in prison that advocates could build upon.

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