Medically frail inmates could be paroled under House bill

Mar 7, 2018

Credit propublica

The state House has approved bills that would allow for extremely sick or frail prisoners to be paroled for medical reasons, and moved to a secure hospital or nursing home.

   It’s an emerging issue as the state’s prison population grows older.

Prisons are dealing with inmates who have dementia, advanced stages of cancer, and chronic conditions that leave them unable to care for themselves outside a hospital or nursing home.

   Treating prisoners with these conditions inside a prison is difficult and expensive, supporters say.

   But state Representative Pam Faris was a “no” vote. The former probation worker says it’s not necessary because the governor can commute sentences for medical reasons. 

   “The governor can do it any time he wants to.”

   The state Department of Corrections says there are 40 to 60 inmates who would be currently eligible. The bills now go to the state Senate.