The number of prisoners sentenced to at least one year in a state correctional institution climbed 55 percent between 1993 and 2013—from 858,000 to 1.3 million, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. That sounds like a big increase, but it pales in comparison to the 400 percent increase in the number of state prisoners aged 55 or older during those years. Prisoners aged 55-plus now account for 10 percent of the state prison population, up from 3 percent two decades ago.
"The changing age structure in the U.S. state prison population has implications for the future management and care of inmates," notes the Bureau of Justice Statistics report. The BJS analysis examines the reasons for the increase, such as longer prison sentences resulting in more prisoners aging into the 55-plus demographic.
Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, Aging of the State Prison Population, 1993–2013