This week The Sentinel takes a Closer Look at what happens when elderly people commit crimes and how the state is dealing an aging prison population sentenced to spend the rest of their lives behind bars.

  • Between 2000 and 2017, Pennsylvania's prison population 65 years old or older has more than quadrupled, in large part because of the use of life without parole sentences. These inmates can be extremely expensive to house and research indicates they post very little risk to public safety.
  • While most people charged with criminal offenses are younger than 40 years old, elderly individuals do enter the criminal justice system. Mental health issues like dementia may contribute to these elderly offenders. What happens when the first response to these kinds of mental health problems is to call the police?
  • Elderly individuals are drastically more likely to be a victim of crime than to be accused of committing a criminal offense. The Sentinel takes a look at what can be done to protect seniors from victimization.
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3 updates to this series since