Elderly Criminal Defendants, Prison Inmates On The Rise In Pennsylvania


“I think were starting to see an uptick of older people being charged with crimes,” deputy prosecutor Marc Furber of Bucks County, Pa., tells the Bucks County Courier Times. “Maybe it's that we have more older people in our community, or maybe that we are just more aware and more people report crimes, especially sex assaults. I think in the past, some of that was swept under the rug.”

Several county residents over 65 have been convicted recently, including Thomas Holliday, 81, who was found guilty of raping a 15-year-old girl, and Albert Johnson, 84, a nursing home resident accused of sexually assaulting a female resident with mental retardation and cerebral palsy. More than 10 percent of Pennsylvania’s 51,512 prisoners are over 55. In 2000, the percentage was under 5 percent. In the prison system, 50 is considered elderly. That's because inmates often enter the facilities with serious health problems. “Many inmates come to us never having received dental care or regular health care. Most … have drug and alcohol dependence, which ages a body much more rapidly,” said the corrections department’ Susan Bensinger.

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