BY RANDI BELISOMO | [email protected]
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – When clinical psychologist Cheryl Steed first came to work at the California Men’s Colony, the behavioral specialist with no prior experience in criminal justice was expecting a tough new patient population: muscular, tattooed and intimidating.
What she found among those convicted of murder, battery and rape housed in the medium-security prison in San Luis Obispo was far different from her imagination.
“I was just as likely to meet old, frail men walking with a cane,” Steed said during a talk at this month’s TEDMED conference.
According to the ACLU, one-third of all inmates will be age 55 or older by the year 2030. The prediction is a consequence of tough sentencing policies in a nation where about 20 percent of inmates are serving 20 years or more.
Twenty percent of inmates at the California Men’s Colony are in their 60s and older, and Steed realized that …