Elderly Lives Matter Too

John C. Walshe

Publisher: iUniverse Pages: 328 Price: (paperback) $20.99 ISBN: 9781663230782 Reviewed: July, 2023 Author Website: Visit »

In Elderly Lives Matter Too, John Walshe describes his prison experiences to call out the mistreatment of seniors in America’s prisons.

Walshe was convicted of securities fraud and “nonpayment of business taxes,” and was incarcerated in “eight penal institutions from age 67 to 73.” While in prison, he suffered from mental and physical disorders that largely went untreated. He “received hardly any psychiatric care,” and medications were denied for his pseudo dementia, dissociative amnesia, posttraumatic stress, and depression. Additionally, his inguinal hernia, “hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes and kidney disease” received inadequate attention, probably resulting in Walshe’s two heart attacks and strokes during that time.

In addition to establishing that the prison system has neither the personnel nor mindset to provide for seniors’ medical needs, Walshe shows that its violent culture can be lethal to elderly inmates. Walshe was beaten numerous times by guards and fellow prisoners. One inmate, he states, “grabbed me by the throat and pushed me up against the wall…. He continually punched me in the abdomen, which was already sore because of my protruding hernias.”

Walshe feels that many of the imprisoned elderly should have been treated for mental disorders instead, and that “other ways to punish,” such as “probation and restitution” should be used in lieu of incarceration. He admits “there are a minority who are still so dangerous to their fellow man even at a late age that they have to be incarcerated,” but believes “it is a small minority.”

Relating his often-shocking experiences, Walshe makes a convincing argument for penal system revision regarding the elderly, who are more vulnerable than other inmates. His book, however, suffers from several issues, including lack of source citation for the statistics or court cases he references, too much repetition, and many technical errors, such as missing commas, misused words and so on.

With an editor’s attention to these areas, this eye-opening book could become a useful source for penal reform.

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