Prisons are overwhelmed with the demands for medical care for an aging population. There are tens of thousands like Stan Rothenberg, old men in whom the recklessness, addiction and rage that fueled their antisocial behavior has long been burned away in penitentiaries.
Their fate, to age alone and in need of palliative care or life-extending treatment, is the bitter and costly harvest of decades of politically-driven demands for mandatory minimum and extreme sentencing policies.
Many of these aging prisoners are not—and never were—violent sociopaths, but often mid-level drug peddlers scooped up in the War on Drugs and. more recently, inmates like Rothenberg convicted of “non-contact” Internet-enabled sex offenses.