Older people and the criminal justice system
Taylor PJ., Fazel S.
Older people may be involved with the criminal justice system in a variety of ways. Crime tends to be committed by younger people, and some have regarded 45, or even 40, as elderly for offenders. In older prisoners incarcerated for sexual offences, similar prevalence rates of mental illness have been found compared with other older male inmates. Elderly sex offenders, however, had increased schizoid, obsessive compulsive, and avoidant personality traits in one study, supporting the view that sex offending in the elderly may be more associated with personality factors than with mental illness or organic brain disease. Among clinical staff working in prisons, a similar increased awareness is essential; the commissioning of prison health services from the mainstream National Health Service should improve the situation. Recividism research in a variety of criminal justice and mental health settings has shown low rates of reoffending for older criminals, and yet few are first time offenders.