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Aging Prisoners Make Up Fastest Growing Segment Of Nation's Prison Population

CRANSTON, RI - DECEMBER 10: (Editorial Use Only) Nathan Brown (his real name has been changed at the request of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections, both to protect him and the identity of people and victims associated with his crime), a prisoner at Rhode Island's John J. Moran Medium Security Prison, plays chess against another inmate on December 10, 2013 in Cranston, Rhode Island. Brown is 75 years old and is serving 55 consecutive years for first degree sexual assault; he arrived in prison in 1992. Brown denies he committed the crime for which he was convicted and refuses to go through a sexual rehabilitation program necessary to be eligible for parole. However, he does admit to serving time in jail prior to his current conviction for assault and weapons possessions. Brown is a trained carpenter, enjoys working in the prison library and also works in the prison's laundry facility. He is also blind in one eye, suffers from arthritis, has had numerous knee surgeries and is currently suffering from an ear infection. Approximately 50 of the prison's 1020 inmates are 65 or older. The U.S. incarcerates more people than any other country, with the number of inmates increasing 42 percent between 1995 and 2010, according to Human Rights Watch, and the number of prisoners 55-and-older skyrocketing by 282 percent. The increases are blamed on the "tough on crime" and the "war on drugs" policies enacted in the 1970s through the 1990s, with mandatory-minimum sentencing, three-strike laws and life-without-parole legislation becoming popular. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Aging Prisoners Make Up Fastest Growing Segment Of Nation's Prison Population : News Photo
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Getty Images News
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10 December, 2013
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Getty Images North America
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