Upswing in aging prison inmate

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http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2013/03/upswing_in_aging_prison_inmate.html

 

By Jean Mikle/The Asbury Park Press

TRENTON — Convicted of three counts of robbery when he was still a young man, Steven Thomas has been in prison since December 1982. Now 62, frail and suffering from a relapse of Hepatitis C, he’s one of an increasing number of inmates in New Jersey’scorrectional institutions who have grown old behind bars.

“I did a robbery when I was 27, 26 years old, and I’ve been locked up ever since,” Thomas told the Asbury Park Press while sitting at the edge of his hospital bed in a hospice unit at South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton. “I wouldn’t want to die here.”

Since 2000, the number of prisoners over age 50 in New Jersey’s state prisons has jumped nearly 90 percent. Now nearly 3,000 older prisoners are in the state’s eight adult correctional institutions.

The older prisoner population has…

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