Justice System Response to Elderly Criminality

  • Peter C. Kratcoski


Violators of the criminal laws can be found in all age categories, including those defined as elderly offenders (65 and older). Older offenders have been convicted of almost all of the same types of crimes as those in other age categories, including violent crimes, such as murder, rape, armed robbery, and aggravated assault; property crimes, such as theft, destruction of property, and fraud; and crimes generally associated with organized crime or white-collar crime, such as extortion, money laundering, bribery, and corruption as well as being convicted of public order crimes, such as public intoxication and loitering. The severity of the crimes of the older offenders ranges from the most serious felony crime, such as aggravated murder, to minor misdemeanor crimes, such as petty theft. Many, perhaps the majority of older offenders, are situational offenders, while others are considered chronic or habitual offenders.

Determining the appropriate criminal justice response for the older criminal offender is often difficult. In this chapter, various responses of the justice system to older offenders are considered, based on the specific situational factors of the older offenders and their special needs. If the offender has mental health of substance abuse problems, the needs of both the older offender and the community can best be served by participation in a diversion program. The Sequential Intercept Model (SIM) designed to assess the appropriate response for those offenders with special needs is presented in this chapter. The procedures and programs of drug courts and mental health courts are also presented. Community-based supervision and treatment options such as probation, parole, and community residential treatment are considered in reference to their application to the older offender. The chapter concludes with a discussion of programs designed for the needs of older offenders sentenced to long-term secure correctional facilities.


Diversion Mental Health Courts Drug Courts Sentencing Options Recidivism Desistance Sequential Intercept Model 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter C. Kratcoski
    • 1
  1. 1.Kent State UniversityKentUSA

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