It is a universally accepted fact that every country in the world has their own set of laws that serve as control point or standard by which the legality of all actions being done by its citizens are set. These set of laws must be followed at all times to prevent chaos and maintain peace and order in society. Moreover, the laws enacted by the government of a country serve as the limit wherein fundamental and constitutional rights of the citizens can be used for legal protection. In pursuing the objective and goals in life, it became a challenge to man to
work within the confines of the law and limits of his constitutional rights so that one will not be branded a criminal or a law-breaker. It is a known fact that criminals can be of any age but for the purpose of legal prosecution, only lawbreakers falling within the age of majority and older can be considered. For purposes of clarity, in this research paper, we will refer to older law- breaker as “elderly offender”. There are conflicting definitions as to what age a law-breaker is considered elderly offender. Jones, et al. (2001) of State Commission on
Criminal Sentencing Policy said that the U. S. Department of Justice and the National Institute of Corrections consider “elderly” as any law offender aged 50 or higher. The state of Maryland consider law-breakers aged 60 years old and above as its elderly offender. Considering the state of emotional stress that prisoners are experiencing in jails, the physical appearance and state of being of a 50 year old is almost identical to a 60 year old living outside prisons, so in this paper, we will consider law-breakers aged 50 year old and above
as elderly offenders. Considering the homogeneity of elderly offenders inside state prisons, for purposes of grouping and clarity, the elderly law breakers are classified into three distinct groups by the researchers working on the aging offenders. According to Jones, et. al (2001), the first group are those incarcerated at age 50 and above, the 2nd group as those incarcerated at a younger age and became older in prison due to the life sentence and the 3rd group as those offenders serving multiple sentences.
The authors reported that geriatric specialist added a fourth group 2 and these are called chronic offenders who were never confined to prison before but due to seriousness of his last crime, the offender was sentenced to be jailed for a longer time. At age 50 and above, it is believed that an individual is reaping the fruits of his endeavor. Together with his family, majority of people at this age are considered settled and achieved almost all their dreams and aspirations. However, in the pursuit of happiness and
achievement together with the intense desire to find a shortcut to it, some of the older people opted to do actions contrary to law. This paper will delve on the issues surrounding elderly offenders with the aim of fully understanding their fate, choose the alternate route to prevent the same fate and analyze the effect of their doings to government and society. Furthermore, this paper will also discuss their legal right to be treated humanely and the chances of going back to society where they formerly belong.