Kelly asks about relocating inmates to nursing homes to save money

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CST; updated 4:17 p.m. CST, Wednesday, February 24, 2010

*Rep. Chris Kelly would like to clarify that he inquired about moving elderly inmates to Medicare nursing facilities. He did not propose such an action.

JEFFERSON CITY — At a state budget hearing, Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, asked questions about a new method that might alleviate the corrections department's budget pressures.

It would allow elderly inmates to be granted parole and move into a nursing facility of the state's choice. Once prisoners are no longer incarcerated, they can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare and reduce health costs for the corrections department.*

Adult Prison Director Tom Clements said the state has 202 male and seven female inmates over the age of 70. Clements said he didn't know how much money Kelly's idea would save the department, nor did he give a definitive response to Kelly's suggested course of action.

The suggestion came at a meeting discussing the Department of Corrections budget for the next year. House Budget Chairman Allen Icet, R-Wildwood, instructed the six House appropriations committees to cut 5 percent from their budgets.

Rep. Dwight Scharnhorst, R-Manchester, chairman of the Public Safety and Corrections Appropriations Committee, defended his committee's unanimous vote Tuesday against cutting $19 million from the Corrections Department budget at a hearing. Such cuts, he said, would force the state to shut down one or two minimal security prisons.

Referencing a statement from Clements, Scharnhorst said, "His statement at the time was 'I will definitely have to close one institution, possibly two. It would be minimum security.' He designated that right away."

The closing of a prison could force the state to release non-violent criminals to make room for those incarcerated for violent offenses.

The corrections department was unavailable for comment after the hearing.

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Jim Everett February 24, 2010 | 8:05 a.m.

I have another unorthodox suggestion. We market technology that is proven to stop the cycle of infection. With our technology in place, visits to medical facilities can be greatly reduced in any population (including prisons or nursing homes). We also market energy management systems that can save the prison system thousands of dollars each month on energy usage. Please contact us Health 2U Technologies 573-256-2521.

I look forward to helping the state looking for answers to indoor environmental issues.

Jim Everett

(Report Comment)
Betsy Murphy February 24, 2010 | 9:59 a.m.

Is it April Fool's day ALREADY????? Nope - just checked the calendar. Kelly has got to be kidding - either that or his sadistic roots are showing. First of all, putting convicts over on medicaid saves the state taxpayers pennies but costs the federal taxpayers (i.e. all of us) big bucks.

Second, Kelly is proposing unleashing hardened criminals on some of the most defenseless people out there - the elderly and the (physically) infirm. Of course, many of them are too out of it to vote, s to Kelly this makes a lot of sense.

Sick, sick man!

(Report Comment)

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