Newswire : Cosby’s sentence highlights the nation’s aging prison population

 By Frederick H. Lowe

 Bill Cosby’s mug shot

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from the NorthStarNewsToday.com (TriceEdneyWire.com) – Bill Cosby’s sentence of 3 to 10 years after being convicted on three counts of sexual assault spotlights the growing number of elderly housed in the nation’s state and federal prisons. Cosby, who is 81 and legally blind, was escorted by police on Monday from the Norristown, Pennsylvania, courthouse to begin serving his prison sentence at SCI Phoenix, a new state prison near Philadelphia, where the staff will assess his physical and medical needs. “The day has come,” Judge Steven O’Neill told Cosby before sentencing him. “Your time has come.” Cosby was convicted of the 2004 drugging and sexual assault of Andrea Constand, a former Temple University women’s basketball coach, Cosby’s sentence spotlights the nation’s aging prison population. In 2013, there were 131, 500 prisoners aged 55 or older. The nation’s total state-prison population is approximately 1.57 million. Over the last 25 years, state corrections’ spending grew by 674% and the costs are mainly spent on incarcerating the elderly. Those costs are much higher than for younger inmates, according to several studies. “It costs $34, 135 per year to house an average prisoner but it costs $68, 270 per year to house a prisoner 50 and older. Elderly prisoners face several challenges including hearing loss, dementia, cardiac disease, high blood pressure, and mobility issues. Prisons also must be retrofit spaces to accommodate the elderly, including installing ramps, shower handles and hiring nurses to care for the elderly. “Prisons were never designed to be geriatric facilities,” reports Human Rights Watch. “Yet US corrections officials now operate old age homes behind bars.”

Newswire; Bill Cosby found guilty on all charges in sex assault trial, Remains free on $1 million bail

By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

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Bill Cosby

NORRISTOWN, Pa.—Convicted comedian Bill Cosby will remain on house arrest until he’s sentenced this summer following his conviction on three counts of aggravated indecent sexual assault.
Judge Steven T. O’Neill ordered Cosby to get written permission from adult probation officials, if he wants to leave his Philadelphia area home to visit his doctor or to meet with lawyers.
Those are the only movements he’s allowed, and they must be within a five-county radius of Montgomery County. Cosby has been fitted with a tracking device, so that court officials can monitor him. “This was a man who had evaded this moment for far too long,” Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said after the verdict.

Steele said that Cosby had “shown his true colors,” when the legendary actor called the prosecutor an “a—hole” after Steele argued that he should immediately be locked up following the verdict.
O’Neill ruled that Cosby could remain free on the same $1 million bail he posted when he was arraigned in December of 2015.
“We still believe that Mr. Cosby is innocent of these charges,” lead defense attorney Tom Mesereau said. “The fight isn’t over.”
An emotional Andrew Wyatt, Cosby’s chief spokesman, said the trial was reminiscent of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old Mississippi African American whose lynching after he was accused of whistling at a White woman, ignited the Civil Rights Movement.
“This became a public lynching,” Wyatt said. “What Gloria Allred was able to do, she took a salt and pepper shaker. She [shook] out a lot of salt and sprinkled in a little black pepper and the South came east.”
Ebonee Benson, who joined Wyatt on morning television shows after the verdict, said the comparison to Emmett Till is real. “We can take a look at Emmett Till,” she said. “Since when are all women honest?” Several television analysts questioned the verdict.
Lawyer and famed CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson, who before the verdict said the case should have been declared a mistrial, said after the decision that Cosby’s team has “many grounds for appeal.” He said he was stunned by the verdict as well as the swiftness in which the jury delivered it. “Certainly, the prosecution put up vigorous case … but I thought the defense did a significant job of discrediting Andrea Constand giving the jury an indication that there was a number of lies she told over a period of time,” Jackson said.
Jackson continued: “The first trial took them 52 hours and they were hung. This time it took 15 hours and they convict, so here we go. I think the most significant grounds were the five accusers. In the first trial, there was one and when you have five, they just have such prejudicial value and I think it just overwhelmed the jury. That’s probably the biggest point in attempting to get Bill Cosby a new trial.”
Jackson called the issue “significant” and one that might allow Cosby, whose facing 30 years in prison, to remain free through the appeal process.
This article was originally published on BlackPressUSA.com.

NNPA exclusive: Bill Cosby finally breaks his silence

By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

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 Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby is blind. It’s been more than two years since the embattled, television and film legend, who was once known as “America’s Dad,” has spoken out publicly. During a recent interview with the NNPA Newswire, Cosby revealed that he’s lost his sight.
Waking one morning about two years ago, he nervously called out to Camille, his wife. “I can’t see,” he said. Doctors later confirmed the worst: that there was nothing that could be done to repair his vision.
“When he would perform, we’d draw a wide straight yellow line from backstage to the chair on the stage and he’d rehearse the walk, hours before the show,” said Andrew Wyatt of the Purpose PR firm, a public relations agency in Birmingham, Ala. Wyatt has worked with Cosby for years.
Wyatt said that his star client has decided that it’s time to talk. Together, Wyatt and Cosby said they grew comfortable that the NNPA Newswire would be more interested in “facts over sensationalism.”
Cosby has shunned most media inquiries, since allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced in late 2014; some of those accusations dated back almost fifty years. In 2015, According to CNN, Cosby was charged with three counts of felony aggravated assault in a case involving Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee.
Earlier this year, CNN reported that Cosby’s, “criminal sexual assault trial will stay in Montgomery County Court in Pennsylvania, but the jurors will come from another Pennsylvania county.” In February, a federal judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed against Cosby by accuser Katherine McKee, according to USA Today.
“This marks the third defamation lawsuit against Cosby that was either withdrawn or dismissed recently, prompting some Cosby crowing,” USA Today reported. “However, another defamation case against him, filed by six accusers, is still pending in the same federal court in Massachusetts.”
While the beleaguered superstar declined to address any of his legal cases, his youngest daughter, Evin felt compelled to speak out. In a statement, which can be read in its entirety on BlackPressUSA.com, Evin, 40, questioned the veracity of the allegations against her father.
“The harsh and hurtful accusations…that supposedly happened 40 or 50 years ago, before I was born, in another lifetime, and that have been carelessly repeated as truth without allowing my dad to defend himself and without requiring proof, has punished not just my dad but every one of us,” Evin said.
Devin T. Robinson X, an actor and renowned poet who’s been featured on MTV, NBC, CBS and BET, said that Bill Cosby represents the finest example of someone being found guilty in the court of public opinion without ever facing trial. “Punishing people before they’re convicted in court only seems accurate when it serves a media narrative that doesn’t hurt a specific demographic,” Robinson said.
Dr. E. Faye Williams, the president and CEO of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc., agreed. “If the President of the United States can go on working in the White House after he has bragged about doing gross, sexually-explicit and abusive things to women, without their permission, then justice requires that Bill Cosby should not be punished, unless he is convicted of crimes,” said Williams.
Perhaps, the closest Cosby came to addressing his ongoing legal battles during the interview was when he opined about the true history of America. “The history about African-Americans is a history of the United States; but the true histories, not the propaganda that is standard in our nation’s history books,” Cosby said. “The great writer, James Baldwin, said, ‘If you lie about me, then you lie about yourself.’ The revolution is in the home. There is something about someone saying, ‘I didn’t know that,’ that could cause a change in that person’s thinking.”
Cosby said he thinks about his illustrious career that, at least for now, has been placed on hold because of the court cases. Few have achieved the legendary status enjoyed by Cosby. His career has spanned more than six decades and includes a host of best-selling comedy albums and books, gold and platinum records, and five Grammy Awards.
With his role in “I-Spy” in the 1960s, Cosby became the first African-American co-star in a dramatic series, breaking TV’s color barrier and winning three Emmy Awards.
After starring opposite Academy Award winner Sidney Poitier in the 1970s trilogy, “Uptown Saturday Night,” “Let’s Do It Again,” and “A Piece of the Action,” Cosby’s star soared even higher in the 1980s when he single-handedly revived the family sitcom and, some argue, saved NBC with “The Cosby Show.”
“Darn right,” he said, when asked if he missed performing. “I miss it all and I hope that day will come. I have some routines and storytelling that I am working on. Cosby continued: “I think about walking out on stage somewhere in the United States of America and sitting down in a chair and giving the performance that will be the beginning of the next chapter of my career.”