Sunday, December 31, 2006

Geriatric prisoners


Photos by Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

Elderly, handicapped prisoners are separated from the general population but remain within the Estelle Unit compound of the Texas State Prison System in Huntsville on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2006. As the prison population ages, the prison system must care for additional needs of elderly prisoners.


Daniel Guiterrez stares into the distance as he waits for lunch at the Estelle Unit of the Texas State Prison System in Huntsville. Guiterrez, 87, is the oldest prisoner in the unit.



Robert A. Bell, 82, professes his innocence at the Estelle Unit of the Texas State Prison System.



Elderly prisoners watch television to pass time at the Estelle Unit of the Texas State Prison System.



Joe Anthony, 74, reads a newspaper to pass time at the Estelle Unit of the Texas State Prison System.



Elderly, disabled inmates get their lunch at the Estelle Unit of the Texas State Prison System. Other inmates bring food to those too disabled to get themselves through the line.



Prisoners eat lunch at the Estelle Unit of the Texas State Prison System. Most elderly unit inmates have one or more physical limitations.



Charles Nelson, 65, (center) talks with other prison inmates at the Estelle Unit of the Texas State Prison System.



A blind inmate finds his way back to his bunk at the Estelle Unit of the Texas State Prison System.



A blind, elderly prison inmate sits in his wheelchair near a window at the Estelle Unit of the Texas State Prison System.

Please read "Old-timers doing time" by Sarah Moore.
 

7 comments:

Phlip said...

Happy New Year & Long Live Admiral Dinghy! Seeing him in the paper again made my day. :P

Daniel Berman said...

Mark--

This seems like it would be a really challenging -- both emotionally and literally -- story to work on. Any thoughts?

Daniel

Mark M. Hancock said...

The hardest part is access. It's difficult to be allowed to shoot in the prison.
At least Texas state prisons are MUCH better than Fed prisons. Texas let me have lots of time to work this. The Feds only allow two shots of a prisoner (not two good ones - only two).
I could shoot all prisoners as long as they weren't identifiable. If I wanted to show someone's face, a prison rep got permission and releases before I could shoot.
Since all people act strange after signing a release, I took a few obligatory shots and waited to shoot them later while they were natural (since they already signed the release).
If nothing else, I learned I don't ever want to be an inmate.

Phojo Nick said...

I am just dying to know what crime a blind, elderly person committed?

Mark M. Hancock said...

I think both being elderly and blind were results of prison rather than pre-existing conditions.

Ami Icanberry said...

These photos are great, yet heartbreaking. I know these elderly inmates are in there for a reason, but still hard to see.

I recently penned an article on the state of incarcerated seniors and the US.

To check it out, visit www.gilbertguide.com/blog

and search for:

Are Geriatric Jailbirds Getting Better Health Care Than Mom?

Professor Sérgio said...

I live in Brazil, a country where ordinary people as I am don't receive the most elementary respect from government..! I'm impressed about the fact that USA's old aged prisioners deserve much more respect than most part of our population here!