A multicentre survey on the sociodemographic characteristics of Italian elderly inmates
Background & aim. In 2017, Italian inmates 60-69 years old were 3700, while 776 had an age >=70 years. This article aimed to analyse the socio-demographic characteristics and types of crimes committed by elderly subjects restricted in different Italian prisons. Methods. A survey has been conducted in 8 penitentiary institutes: 4 located in Lombardy, and 4 in Apulia. The participation was anonymous and voluntary. By using a standardised format, age, gender, nationality, marital status, last occupation, type of crime, and duration of the punishment were assessed. In the case of previous convictions, additional data were also collected. All records were analysed as aggregates to guarantee privacy preservation. Results. The population was mainly represented by males (93.6%), married or living with a partner (46.8%). The most prevalent crimes committed by the elderlies belongs to the category against the property (33.1%) followed soon after by those against the person (27.7%), other offences (14%), drug-related (13.8%) and mafia-type crimes (11.7%). The Southern inmates were more frequently responsible for crimes against the person (38%), while property crimes (61%) were more recurrent in the Northern inmates. Sixty-four prisoners (68.8%) were already found guilty in the past for other misconducts. The Northern inmates were more frequently recidivist, with a higher number of previous convictions (p = 0.010) and detentions (p = 0.012) compared to the Southern prisoners. Conclusions. Committing crimes in older age is strongly different from being a criminal in young or adult age, especially for the complexity that per se characterizes the older population.
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© Società Italiana di Gerontologia e Geriatria (SIGG) , 2020
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