Skip navigation.
Home | About Us | Contact Us
Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Michael D. Crews

Florida Department of Corrections
Timothy H. Cannon, Interim Secretary

Prisons

Elderly Inmates

Elderly (50 or older) Population
Category Population on June 30, 2011
Elderly Population 17,492 100.00%
Gender
Male 16,510 94.4%
Female 982 5.6%
Race
White 9,502 54.3%
Black 7,414 42.4%
Other 576 3.3%
Current Age
50-55 9,633 55.1%
56-60 4,189 23.9%
61-65 1,763 10.1%
66-70 1,261 7.2%
71-75 418 2.4%
76+ 228 1.3%
Prior Supervision Commitments
0 8,287 47.4%
1 2,878 16.5%
2 1,852 10.6%
3 1,466 8.4%
4+ 2,992 17.1%
Section 944.8041, Florida Statutes states: "For the purpose of providing information to the Legislature on elderly offenders within the correctional system, the department and the Correctional Medical Authority shall each submit an annual report on the status and treatment of elderly offenders in the state-administered and private state correctional systems and the department's geriatric facilities and dorms."

Type of Offense Chart
Type of Offense Number Percent
Murder, Manslaughter 3,598 20.6%
Sexual offenses 3,631 20.0%
Robbery 1,597 9.1%
Violent Personal offenses 1,646 9.4%
Burglary 1,933 11.1%
Theft/Forgery/Fraud 1,264 7.2%
Drug offenses 2,538 14.5%
Weapons 377 2.2%
Other 895 5.1%
Data Unavailable:13
May not add to 100% due to rounding.

Type of Offense:  Property - 2,866 or 16.4%; Drug - 2,538 or 14.5%; Violent - 10,708 or 61.2%; Other - 1,367 or 7.8%; Data Unavailable = 13

Did You Know?

On June 30, 2011, there were 17,492 elderly inmates in prison, which represented 17.1% of the total population.

Background and Statistics - Elderly Offenders

  • Elderly inmates are defined by Florida Statute 944.02 as "prisoners age 50 or older in a state correctional institution or facility operated by the Department of Corrections."
  • The number of elderly inmates in the state prison system has increased steadily from 11,178 in FY0506 to 17,492 in FY1011, and this particular population is expected to continue to increase over the next decade.
  • The majority of elderly inmates in prison on June 30, 2011 were serving time for sex offenses (20.8%), murder/manslaughter (20.6%) or drug offenses (14.5%).
The percent of the total population of inmates age 50 or older was 12.6% in June 2006 and rose to 17.1% in June 2011.

Elderly Offenders and Health Care

  • Older inmates generally have poorer health due to lack of health care prior to incarceration and personal habits such as smoking and drug abuse. (As of October 1, 2011, tobacco use by inmates has been banned in Florida prisons.)
  • In FY1011, 48.5% of the inmates who had multiple admissions to hospitals were elderly.
  • In FY1011, elderly inmates accounted for 38.4% of all episodes of care and 44.9% of all hospital days although they only represented 17.1% of the total prison population.

The Department employs a number of strategies to provide health care to elderly inmates. The continued growth in this population, combined with the state's budget shortfalls, has created challenges and opportunities for policy makers and department leadership. Moving forward, the Department and policy makers may need to find even more creative ways to deliver medically necessary, cost effective health care services to this target population.

As of June 30, 2011:

  • There were 17,492 elderly inmates in prison, which represented 17.1% of the total population.
  • 94.4% of the elderly inmates in prison were male; 5.6% were female.
  • 47.4% of the elderly inmates in prison had no prior prison commitments.
  • During FY1011, there were 3,452 elderly inmate admissions. The majority were admitted for drug offenses (26.4%), followed by property crimes (17.2%), and violent offenses (13.7%). The oldest male inmate admitted was 85; the oldest female admitted was 87.

The Department does not house inmates based solely on age. Elderly inmates are housed in most of the Department's major institutions consistent with their custody level and medical status. However, there are certain facilities whose purpose is to house or care for elderly inmates.

  • By Department policy, all inmates (including those age 50 and older) who have limitations in the performance of Activities of Daily Living are assessed and diagnosed by a physician, provided with a service plan that is designed to meet their medical and mental health needs, and housed consistent with their custody level and medical status.
  • Inmates who are blind, deaf, require a walker or a wheelchair, or who have more specialized housing and/or service needs are assigned only to institutions designated for such custody and care.

Which Prisons House Elderly Inmates?

Currently, the facilities listed below serve relatively large populations of elderly inmates. Housing these inmates separate from the general population reduces the potential for predatory and abusive behavior by younger, more aggressive inmates and promotes efficient use of medical resources. (Note: In accordance with the provisions of SB 2000, the Department issued a number of Requests for Proposals for comprehensive health services in September 2011. If DC awards a contract or contracts as a result of the RFPs, the vendor(s) may continue providing specialized services for elderly inmates at these facilities, or utilize other facilities to provide these services.)

  • Reception and Medical Center has a 100-bed licensed hospital on-site in Lake Butler, Florida, and also cares for chronically ill, elderly inmates in different dorms on campus.
  • The South Unit of the Central Florida Reception Center is specifically designated for elderly as well as palliative care inmates.
  • Zephyrhills Correctional Institution has two dorms specifically designed for elderly inmates as well as inmates with complex medical needs.
  • Lowell Correctional Institution has a dorm specifically designated for female inmates with complex medical needs.
  • River Junction Work Camp is a work camp for elderly inmates who are in good health (no major medical issues), able to work, and are at a minimum/medium custody level.
  • In December 2010, the Department opened the renovated F-Dorm at South Florida Reception Center to help address some of the medical needs of the growing elderly population. This dorm features 84 beds designated for palliative and long-term care. The facility also provides step down care for inmates who can be discharged from hospitals but are not ready for an infirmary level of care at an institution.