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Elder Inmates

Author(s): Miomira P. Kostić
Subject(s): Criminal Law, Penology
Published by: Правни факултет Универзитета у Нишу
Keywords: aging; elder inmates; elder delinquency; treatment of elderly offenders

Summary/Abstract: The criminological literature underscores that criminal offences committed by senior citizens are directly related to their age and entering a new stage of life. In elder offenders, we may observe a distinctive pattern in the development of their criminal activities, the structure of crime, gender-specific criminal offences, their previous criminal records and their social status. The former criminological studies on the elderly population have most frequently focused on examining the senior citizens’ fear of crime and their victimization within the family; the studies on criminal offences committed by the elderly seem to be rather scarce. The prior research into the criminal activity of elder offenders has largely addressed the needs and difficulties encountered by elderly inmates, particularly in case they were sentenced to long-term imprisonment and subject to strict parole rules. Some researchers have also extended criticism on the lack of special correctional facilities specifically designed for elder inmates. In general, crime rate drops with aging. In developed countries, there is a constant increase of elder population as opposed to the marked decrease of younger population. Yet, the percentage of convicted offenders among the persons over the age of 55 is still significantly lesser as compared to the percentage of younger convicts. Namely, different issues pertaining to “elder people behind bars” have eventually become the subject matter of interest of criminologists and penologists, public administration authorities and international organizations advocating the observance of human rights. The incarcerated men and women face many physical and psychological problems which are generally encountered by all people at large but usually at a later age, when they are at least 10 years older than the inmates. Violence, anxiety and distress caused by the immediate prison environment, separation from their friends and families, and the awareness that they are most likely to spend the rest or most of their lives in prison may altogether accelerate the aging process in elderly inmates.

  • Issue Year: LIII/2014
  • Issue No: 67
  • Page Range: 99-116
  • Page Count: 18
  • Language: Serbian