Summary: Older Criminals and Victims
This chapter provides a summary of the trends and issues pertaining to the criminal offending of older persons, the criminal victimization of older persons, and the criminal justice response to older offenders. Information pertaining to these topics is presented by authors from several countries. As a result, the reader is able to view the trends and issues that relate to the older criminal offender and older victim of crime from several different perspectives and also note the similarities and differences in crime and victimization of the elderly in different parts of the world.
The chapters in Part 1 look at the trends in the growth of the older populations of the countries and how this growth is related to the criminal activity of the elderly who reside there. Such matters as the opportunity for older persons to commit crimes, the types of crimes in which they engage, and some factors that motivate older persons to perform criminal acts are considered.
Part 2 of the book focuses on the older victims of crime. Such matters as the proportion of older persons victimized by crime, the characteristics of the older victims, the factors that make the older person vulnerable, the major forms of personal and property crimes committed by those who victimize the elderly, and the relationship between the victims and perpetrators of the crimes are considered.
In Part 3 of the book, the criminal justice response to the older criminal offenders is considered. Research findings pertaining to the matter of older offenders being treated more severely or more leniently by justice agencies than offenders in other age groups who have been convicted of the same offense are presented. Justice programs that address the problems of the older offenders who commit minor offenses and who have special problems are considered. These include diversion programs, special problem courts such as drug courts, mental health courts, and community courts. The procedures followed by these courts and the success of these special courts in regard to the recidivism of the participants and their reintegration into the mainstream of their communities are discussed. Community-based programs for older offenders including probation and community residential treatment facilities are given consideration, and some of the specific programs are explained.
Some older offenders are committed to long-term correctional facilities as a result of laws that mandate a prison sentence because of the severity of their crimes or on the basis of a risk assessment instrument. This instrument predicts offenders’ likelihood of committing a new offense if placed in community corrections or if they are considered to constitute a serious threat to the welfare of the community. Such risk assessment instruments are used throughout the United States and in several other countries.
The special needs of the elderly who are placed in long-term correctional facilities as well as the special programs developed in some correctional facilities to address special needs of elderly inmates are discussed in Chap. 12: The Criminal Justice Response to the Older Offender.
KeywordsOlder criminal Older victim Trends in criminal behavior Types of crimes Categories of victimization Aging population Push-pull theory Community corrections Special problem courts
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