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Politics & Current Affairs

Are Prisons Better than Nursing Homes for the Poor & Elderly?

The rights of prison inmates are meticulously defined by law while nursing home standards vary widely. Not to mention prison is free and healthcare is provided at a relatively high level. 

What’s the Latest Development?


For individuals with no assets and no family, the possibility of being committed to a Federal prison may be more promising than landing in a government-funded nursing home. Prison, after all, is not without certain benefits: “Prison is cheap (if not free), provides a steady supply of food, a relatively high level of healthcare, and some social interaction. In the best situations, you could take classes for college credit, learn a new trade, or spend your days catching up on television.” Becoming an inmate at a Federal prison located on a military base may be the best option, where one could work in clerical positions or even go the cinema. 

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What’s the Big Idea?

Unlike nursing homes, prisons must follow strict government regulations where inmates’ rights and standards of care are meticulously outlined. “Prisoners have access to personal or public defenders, and, in some cases, fully stocked law libraries. The government is required to maintain a proper level of care for inmates, with prisoners free to make due process arguments concerning quality of life in an established manner.” The quality of nursing homes, however, varies widely depending on the home, and because of steep costs, the elderly can lose all their assets just to pay for their last years of care. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com


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