Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Prison Nursing Homes - New York

Yet another complication of "get tough on crime." We have a population of people who are old or sick and in prison for years, and that population is going to continue to grow.

FISHKILL, N.Y.- In the day room, white-haired men in robes watch "The Price is Right." Out on the balcony, another looks through bars as he fidgets from side to side.

Prisons have been dealing with the special needs of older prisoners for years, but the one here in Fishkill state prison is considered unique because it specializes in dementia-related conditions.

The unit—30 beds on the third floor of the prison's medical center—is a first for New York and possibly the nation, through experts say it likely won't be the last as more people grow old behind bars.

The unit has the clean-white-wall feel of a nursing home—but for the prison bars. A marker board in the day room includes a picture of a sun with a smiley face and a reminder to "Have a great day." The activity calendar lists puppies on Thursday and bingo on Friday. As long as they behave, patients can wander from their rooms to the day room.

"They're still in prison," said Fishkill superintendent William Connolly. "This is just a unique environment within a prison environment."

Connolly said the men's crimes are not considered in the screening process, though their prison record matters. The idea is to provide proper care and a safe environment.

"A lot of guys, when they were confined to the general population, they stayed in their rooms, they wouldn't come out," said nursing director Angela Maume. "They were in a cocoon."

Denver Post

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