The idea of sending severely incapacitated inmates who do not pose a threat to the community to a nursing home has been bandied about for a long time in Connecticut. In February, The CT Mirror provided a hint that such a move was in the works. click here to go to website .
Now the Associated Press reports that Connecticut will indeed allow inmates meeting strict criteria to be sent to a nursing home-type environment for end-of-life or palliative care.
The CT Mirror reported that although the number of prisoners being held in Connecticut prisons has been declining overall, the number of inmates over the age of 60 has been steadily rising. Elderly inmates generally have more health problems that require more intensive treatment, but those who will be eligible for release to the selected nursing home can be of any age.
Opposition to sending inmates to a nursing home included the assumption that those with elderly relatives residing in a nursing home would object to convicted criminals living among their loved ones. Respecting that legitimate concern, the Connecticut Department of Correction (CT DOC) announced that it would send eligible inmates to a nursing home specifically designated for “forensic patients of the State Departments of Correction, Social Services, Mental Health and Addiction Services and Public Health,” according to the AP. Inmates who were convicted of violent crimes or sexual offenses would not be eligible for release to a nursing home.
Connecticut has been trying to pare its corrections budget over the past several years. Efforts to do so have resulted in the closing of prisons and a strong move to provide alternatives to incarceration. Releasing certain inmates to a nursing home is expected to save millions of dollars, as the federal government would then have to reimburse the state via Medicaid funds. The exact location of the nursing home facility and the date inmates will be released to it has not yet been announced.
Sources: CT Mirror, AP and WTNH