Survey: Coping with imprisoned family member's illness

Last winter we posted an audio column from Emani Davis, who at the time had spent 24 years waiting for her father to be released from prison. He had suffered head trauma in the past, and his eyesight was deteriorating more quickly than is normal for elderly people. Davis felt helpless not being able to personally care for him–something she realized was as important as the medical care.

Now people in the elder Davis’s situation–if they are in prison in New York State– could have other options. A new state law has made inmates with chronic as well as terminal illnesses eligible for early release, as long as they don’t pose a threat to others and have served half their time.

Passed last April, the law even grants eligibility to those convicted of violent crimes including second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter and sex offenses, according to a report in The New York Times.

The new law coincides with a rise in aging and ill inmates serving longer sentences. Between 1999 and 2008, the number of inmates age 55 and older rose 79 percent to 74,000. The state reckons it costs $150,809 a year to care for a seriously ill inmate.

Have you had to cope with having a sick family member in prison? How has that situation made you feel? Call (646) 867-1891 to leave a voice message that we will share with others this site. Please share the phone number with others who might want to describe their experience.

Or fill out this form to share your experiences and see how others coped with the situation:

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