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Hawaii prisons struggle to deal with aging inmate population

  • STAR-ADVERTISER

    At the state’s largest prison, the Halawa Correctional Facility on Oahu, nearly one in six inmates is over the age of 55.

Hawaii’s prisons are grappling with rising health care costs brought on by an aging population of inmates.

Hawaii News Now reported Thursday that some 13 percent of all Hawaii inmates are 55 and older.

At the state’s largest prison, the Halawa Correctional Facility on Oahu, nearly one in six inmates is over the age of 55. About 5 percent of the facility’s more than 1,000 inmates are disabled due to age, mobility and cognitive issues.

The state Department of Public Safety says age-related medical costs and a growing inmate population are driving up its $24 million health care budget for correctional facilities.

Some say inmates with severe medical conditions should not be kept behind bars, while others argue there is no place for them to go.

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