As convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky was led away from the Centre County, Pa., court house today, the gaunt 68-year-old in the red jumpsuit was headed toward what will likely be the rest of his life in the Pennsylvania state prison system.
Sandusky was sentenced this morning to serve no less than 30 years and no more than 60 years in state prison for his conviction on 45 counts of child sex abuse, a sentence tantamount to life in prison for the 68-year-old.
He had been found guilty in July of abusing 10 boys he befriended through his charity for underprivileged youth, the Second Mile. The accusations against Sandusky ignited outrage at Penn State and across the country, as two top officials were arrested for allegedly covering up his crimes, and head football coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier lost their jobs over their knowledge of the abuse.
"I'm not going to sentence you to centuries," Judge John Cleland told Sandusky today. "It makes no sense for a 68-year-old man. This sentence will put you in prison for the rest of your life."
Sandusky will now go to Camp Hill State Prison, near Harrisburg, to determine where and how he will spend the rest of his life in jail. Officials from the Department of Corrections will determine his medical and mental health needs, as wells as his security needs as a 68-year-old pedophile.
"Danger is always a consideration but I think the people in the Department of Corrections would probably say they're very equipped to ensure the safety of inmates," William DiMascio, executive director of the Pennsylvania Prison Society, said.
Officials will then decide where to send him, likely to a low-security prison specializing in older inmates or those with psychological issues, including one in eastern Pennsylvania with many sex offenders. There are 26 prisons for men in Pennsylvania that Sandusky could be sent to, none of which have a special housing unit or facility for sex offenders, the department said. The system houses more than 50,000 prisoners.
Sandusky could be held in solitary confinement at the beginning of his sentence, though he will likely be transferred to the general population quickly, according to experts. He will then most likely be placed with other inmates of similar ages and crimes.
"I'm assuming he will be placed with non-violent offenders. He was not a violent offender in traditional sense, like robber or murderer, and it's a mechanism whereby his safety and security will be hopefully enhanced. They wouldn't want to put him in a cell with a violent really bad guy," according R. Paul McCauley, professor emeritus at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a legal consultant.
A former state prison inmate who was convicted of sex crimes told ABC News anonymously that Sandusky would receive verbal abuse from inmates because of his case, but likely would not be in physical danger.
"People are going to know who he is, it's very hard to remain anonymous. You wear your name on your clothes in state prison," he said. "There will be a substantial amount of verbal harassment, but physical is much less common in Pennsylvania prisons than people think. Pennsylvania prisons are very non-violent."