Pensioner prisoner numbers soar as perverts who offended decades ago caught

Long-in-the-tooth lags are filling up our jails.

The number of pensioner prisoners has soared as the law catches up with perverts who committed offences decades ago.

The Ministry of Justice says there are now 1,759 inmates in England and Wales aged 70 or over – more than double the 2010 figure.

Incredibly, 18 inmates are aged 90 or above with the oldest jailbird in the country – convicted paedophile Ralph Clarke – clocking in at the ripe old age of 104.

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In the last nine years the number of inmates in their 80s has risen from 50 to 301, while the number in their 70s has increased from 574 to 1,440.

Overall, the number of prisoners aged 70 or older has soared from the 629 recorded in 2010.

The surge in the OAP prison population comes as more and more sex offenders who committed crimes decades ago are being brought to justice for their offences.

Much of the rise is said to be down to the “Jimmy Savile effect”, which means people are now more willing to come forward and speak about the abuse they suffered in the past.

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In April 2017 Clarke, inset, then aged 101, failed in an appeal against the 13-year term imposed on him for a string of sex offences against children in the 1970s and 1980s.

He claimed unsuccessfully that he was “too old for jail”.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “The number of older prisoners is increasing, just as the elderly population overall
is growing.

“It is vital that we deal with older prisoners in the most secure and appropriate way. That’s why the guidance we have in place for the
management of these offenders takes into account the specific challenges they present.”

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