When Prisons Become Hospices
Date:  07-08-2014

Photographs of elderly and dying prisoners show human beings instead of the cold statistics that define them
In May the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published an article by Andrew Burton that puts faces to the statistics regarding elderly prisoners. Burton’s photographs of California inmates present the stark reality of the graying of American prisons. The prisoners in Burton’s photographs seem to be as dilapidated as the buildings that house them. Faces are as worn and gritty as their physical surroundings.

For some it will be hard to look at the photographs because of the sense of hopelessness that permeates each shot. For others, the faces will spur a call for action to free elderly and terminally ill inmates who are not a threat to society. And, of course, some will look at the photos with a perverse sense of justice that criminals get exactly what they deserve. Whatever feelings the photos provoke Burton has opened up dialogue about prisons turning into hospices.

To view Burton’s photographs click here.