ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A new report says New York state's prison population is rapidly aging, putting more pressure on prison health care systems and taxpayers alike.

The analysis published Thursday by the New York City-based Osborne Association found that in the last decade, the number of inmates over 50 has increased by 46 percent despite an overall 17 percent decline in the number of people behind bars.

The report questioned the reasons for keeping many older inmates locked up, noting that elderly prisoners are less likely to reoffend than younger inmates, and have far more expensive health care needs.

The association studies corrections policy and provides services to inmates in prisons around the state. It recommends releasing many elderly inmates and improving the care of elderly prisoners.

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