Elderly Advocates Attack Cross County Lawmaker's Bill to Put Prisoners in Nursing Homes

MARCH 10, 2005 - Posted at 7:21 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A bill that has passed the state House and Senate would place some Arkansas prisoners in nursing homes.  The measure would free space in prisons and save the state money because federal health care programs would cover much of the cost of keeping the inmate in the nursing home.

The bill by state Senator Jim Luker of Wynne was sent to Governor Huckabee on Tuesday.  Correction Department spokeswoman Dina Tyler says the bill is only intended to give better care to prisoners who have been rendered truly harmless by disease or dementia.

The Oklahoma City-based group A Perfect Cause, is fighting the bill.  The group says putting inmates in nursing homes puts other patients at risk.  Organization leader Wes Bledsoe says it is a mistake to believe older or seriously injured registered sex offenders and violent criminals are no longer capable of violent crimes.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)