I read about a guy the other day who walked into a bank, told the teller he was robbing it, and then stood around waiting for the police to come and arrest him. From the sounds of the article, he could have taken the money and gotten away without too much effort – but he didn’t want to. He was a widower, didn’t get out much, and was having a hard time paying his bills each month – so he opted to take the prison retirement plan.
At first, it sounds crazy, to knowingly go to prison – but then, when you start to think about it – the crazy thing for him probably would have been continuing to struggle to pay for food, health care, electricity, insurance, water, maintenance, transportation, and all the other things we are forced to pay out of pocket from the time we become adults until the time we die. He gave up his freedom – the freedom to starve, the freedom to be lonely, the freedom to freeze to death, the freedom to die from treatable conditions, the freedom to die alone and with nobody knowing about it.
A quick internet search reveals that this is not uncommon – the link below is about it happening in Japan, but apparently (when you read the comments below the article) it is also already common in the United States.
This next link actually goes over the pros and cons of a retirement home vs. prison and offers some good advice about how to land in a Federal prison instead of a state prison because violence in state run prisons is twice as likely…
If all of this sounds absolutely insane to you, it should. It is. When prison is more desirable than freedom for our elderly, we have definitely gone off track. The hard part is getting back on track. Legislators are more likely to close prisons to the elderly who consider doing this, than to try to improve the material conditions of all the elderly (and the rest of us) which led to this situation in the first place.