Do the Very Elderly Still Go to Jail if They Commit a Crime?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Sep 30, 2022 | 0 Comments

What happens when an elderly individual commits a crime? Do they get the same kind of jail sentence that a younger person would? Are courts more lenient on them?

These are tough questions with even tougher answers because, really, it depends on the judge, the crime, and the health of the individual. Arguably, ten years in prison is different for a 40-year-old person than it is for a 75-year-old person. But courts are split on what to do.

In fact, when Bill Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years in a state prison in 2018 after being convicted of three counts of aggravated indecent assault, his legal team requested that he be able to serve out his sentence on house arrest because of his age and health. The court denied this request despite his age (he was 81 at the time).

What Do the Studies Say?

There have been two significant studies on the matter, one from 2000 and one from 2014. In the first one, the researchers found that in Pennsylvania, the courts gave offenders over the age of 60 a lighter prison sentence – if they were given a prison sentence at all. In fact, it was 25-30% less likely that elderly criminals would end up behind bars for a crime than a criminal in their 20s would.

The other study from 2014 reviewed whether elderly criminals were treated the same as their younger counterparts in federal court. What they discovered is that most judges gave elderly criminals much lighter sentences.

What Happens to Senior Prison Inmates?

One of the reasons courts may go lighter on elderly criminals is because the expense of incarcerating older offenders, who tend to have declining health and thus greater healthcare needs, is not exactly cost-effective. It costs much more to keep up with their healthcare needs than it does to keep a younger inmate in good health.

How an Attorney Can Help

Elderly individuals accused of a crime have a right to a strong defense. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have spent years helping elderly defendants gather evidence and witness testimony to best advocate on their behalf. They understand how much different life inside a prison can be for a person in their 80s than it is for a person in their 30s. As such, they will work tirelessly to ensure the court understands why a lighter prison sentence, if there should be any sentence at all, is best.

You cannot rely on a judge taking it easy on your just because of your age. You need a skilled criminal defense attorney to help make that case for you. Call 888-535-3686 today or schedule a consultation online. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are here to help.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in New Jersey and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

​​​Contact The Lento Law Firm Today

When it comes to criminal defense cases, you need the right person in your corner. To learn more about how Mr. Lento can help you, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686. or contact him online.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.