Cosby sent to prison; geriatric unit across state could await

Bill Cosby was to spend his first night behind bars at SCI Phoenix, a new 3,830-bed state prison in suburban Philadelphia.

He was headed there Tuesday night after being held temporarily at a county jail, where he was sent immediately after being sentenced to three to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting a woman at his home in 2004.

Correction officials will assess his needs and safety issues to determine where it will be best for the 81-year-old Cosby, who is legally blind, to complete his sentence, prosecutors said.

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District Attorney Kevin Steele said that could be SCI Laurel Highlands, a state prison housing lower-risk inmates on the other side of the state, about 70 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

SCI Laurel Highlands is the state Correction Department's provider to inmates with special needs, including those requiring long-term care, though it also houses a general prison population, according to its website.

It has separate housing units for its geriatric inmates and also has programs for sex offenders, the website says. Cosby was declared a "sexually violent predator' just before his sentencing, requiring him to receive monthly counseling the rest of his life.

The prison at Laurel Highlands opened in 1996, at the site of a former state hospital. At last count it held nearly 1,600 inmates.