Aging Prisoners Make Up Fastest Growing Segment Of Nation's Prison Population
SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA - DECEMBER 20: Anthony Alvarez, age 82, talks on the phone to his 80-year-old sister at California Men's Colony prison on December 20, 2013 in San Luis Obispo, California. Alvarez is assisted by the Gold Coats program, a volunteer care program where healthy prisoners volunteer to take care of elderly prisoners who either need general assistance with mobility and every day life or who also struggle with Alzheimer's and dementia. The program, the first of it's kind in the country, has existed for approximately 25 years; there are currently 11 "Gold Coats." According to Alvarez, he has been incarcerated for 42 years due to a series of burglaries, possession of illegal firearms and escapes from county jail. Eventually these convictions led to him getting a 62-years-to-life sentence due to three-strike laws. "I never shot anyone," Alvarez said, "I had the chance but I could never shoot anyone." Today is Alvarez's second day being assisted by the Gold Coats; he largely needs help with mobility. Alvarez says he served in the Navy from 1950-1955 and fought in the Korean War. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
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Andrew Burton / Staff
Getty Images News
December 20, 2013
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