“Where it’s a mandatory sentence, you have no method to get them out and find appropriate places in the community for them," says Richard Bonnie, a professor of law at UVA. "I think there are 8th amendment issues here. I mean keeping a person with dementia at some point constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.”
In a report produced for the American Bar Association, he says states should start now to figure out how many of their older inmates have dementia.
“We need to systematically begin to do dementia screening in jails and prisons, and then obviously you want to have appropriate custody plans and treatment plans."