The compassionate-release program was also designed to address correctional costs. Between 1982 and 2006, U.S. state and federal prison populations grew by 271% (14), prisoners aged 55 years or older increased by 418% (15–17), and spending increased by 660% (18). For the 79 100 prisoners older than 55 years (19), the cost of incarceration is more than 3 times that for younger prisoners, primarily due to health care costs (20). Although releasing prisoners who are very close to death (days to weeks) may simply shift health care costs to Medicare or Medicaid (21), in cases believed to be appropriate and safe, earlier release will probably reduce costs related to hospital security, medical transport for such treatments as dialysis, and construction of disability-accessible protective housing (3, 11). Indeed, the average annual costs for health care, protective transportation, and guards for 21 seriously ill prisoners in California (just 0.01% of the state's prison population) exceed $1.97 million per prisoner (22). In comparison, the median annual cost of nursing home care in California is $73 000 per person (23). Further ethical, legal, and financial aspects of compassionate release are discussed elsewhere (4, 11).