It was established from literature review that an elderly offender is one that is convicted and sentenced to jail at age 50 and above. Furthermore, there are three groups of elderly offenders established namely those incarcerated for the first time and jailed at age of 50 and up, second are the ones who were convicted at younger age and became older in prisons and the third are those who goes in and out of jail for petty violations until they reached 50 and above. This last group is termed chronic offenders by correctional authorities. A detailed study of personalities of elderly offenders revealed that from childhood, they
were neglected by their families owing the fact that the family itself is broken. At young and tender age, they were victims of domestic violations and resorted to gambling, alcohol and use of drugs. As they come of age, their associates are fellow gamblers, ex-convicts, alcoholics and drug users. When they married, their families are likewise broken, no descent job as source of money for their daily subsistence and cannot pay their bills. The elderly offenders did crimes of passion, crimes against property, drunkenness and lawlessness when under the spirit and influence of drugs.
It was also revealed that majority of elderly offenders have very low academic achievements owing to the fact that they were neglected at young stage by their parents. In countries like the US, majority of the offences by the elderly were crime to property as in shoplifting, burglary, domestic violence, over speeding and damage to properties consummated while they were drunk. Very recently, there are news attesting to the fact that sexual crimes committed by the elderly against young girls are also in the rise. Psychiatrists and forensic experts agree that the elderly offenders commit their crimes while
they were distressed and in the state of psychosis. On the nature of elderly offender crimes committed, In Japan, murder is the most 23 common crime committed followed by crimes on property. Manslaughter in Japan were actually suicide cases involving the father and spouse as well as murder owing to dishonesty in transactions and investment scams. Property crimes in Japan were commonly done by female elderly and seldom punished by sentencing to jail as the cases were commonly dismissed and not treated as crime by the court especially if a woman did it. In UK, elderly
crimes commonly are property crimes and not subject to imprisonment if found guilty. The elderly offenders are just sent to Social Services. The most common crime being commited by elderly offender in Canada involved sex crimes such as rape, incest and pedophilia. On the needs of elderly offenders while in jail, health care needs and psychiatrists assistance to cope up with depression and emotional stability were paramount. At present, the elderly offenders are jailed with young criminals and only a few states in the US has started segregation practice as to state of physical and mental health of the elderly offenders.
Other states were hesitant to adopt the segregation practice due to the fact that they don’t have funds for it. In California, Georgia and West Virginia, the three strikes law is in effect adding to more population of the elderly in the prison system and spending more to care of the offenders than spending more for education of the youth and other social services. The California philosophy is that the elderly offenders did the violations and it is but just fair for them to suffer the consequences of being jailed. The existing laws in countries and states and the strict considerations for parole resulted
to increasing population of the elderly more than the population of young offenders. This trend will continue in the future unless a closer study of laws on elderly population is done and improvements to the effect of congesting the jails will be undertaken. Elderly offenders are human beings too and they found their destiny in jails out of broken families and neglect. They too are entitled to be treated as human beings by giving them the health care that they deserve but not to the point of sacrificing the education of the youth and social services. 24
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