Leadership Profile

What's Happening at Cedar Crest College

Acclaimed Activist Talks to Nursing Students About Elderly in Prison

Senior nursing students (left) Claire Sigafoos and Jenna Beidleman chat with Kathleen O'Shea before the program.

Kathleen O’Shea, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated author and activist for better care of the elderly in prisons, gave a presentation to more than 50 nursing students and faculty on March 20.

Among her key points: Prisons are constructed primarily to house young males, and it costs about three times as much money to care for an elderly inmate (nearly $100,000 on average) as it does for a younger inmate. Her suggestions? Build prisons specifically for elderly inmates that will provide an adequate level of care, and consider “compassionate release” for those who pose minimal threat to the outside world.

Students found the presentation enlightening.

“I learned a lot of valuable information from Kathleen O’Shea. The piece that amazed me the most was how grandparents take on raising the children (of inmates), but receive little financial assistance,” said senior Claire Sigafoos. “Since I am going to work in pediatrics, this information may help me in my future career path.”