Attorney General Proposes Early Inmate Release for Sick, Elderly

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JACKSON, Tenn.–United States Attorney General Eric Holder wants to release some non-violent inmates including the elderly and sick in an attempt to save money. Holder proposed a new policy Monday that would allow some elderly non-violent offenders who served significant portions of their sentences, or inmates who are sick, to get out of jail early. Inmates in Madison County cost taxpayers more than $9 million a year, a figure Madison County Sheriff David Woolfork knows well. “We are reimbursed to some minor degree from the state, but not enough to make a big difference,” said Woolfork Woolfork says his department spent $213,223.15 on medical expenses for inmates during the last fiscal year. “That does not take into account we have three nurses on staff,” Woolfork said . Releasing inmates early could save money. Despite that, Woolfork believes inmates should serve their full sentence. “I think that if a person is locked up for a particular crime that they need to completely pay their debt to society,” he said. Others, such as Amber Wilson of Jackson, disagree. “I feel like if they are rehabilitated then maybe they should get out early,” Wilson said . Some support early inmate release depending on the crime and situation. “But if they killed somebody or whatever maybe they should stay in there and do their whole sentence,” said Wilson. The current law requires Woolfork to take care of all inmates. “We get very few healthy inmates,” he said. Madison County has several nurses on staff at the jail and a doctor that visits every week.

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