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How Long Was Rolf Harris in Prison?

Rolf Harris is an Australian-born entertainer who was convicted and jailed for multiple sexual offenses in 2014. His dramatic fall from grace shocked the British public, as he had been a widely popular TV personality for decades. Harris ended up serving just over half of his original prison sentence before being released in 2017.

Rolf Harris’ Convictions and Sentencing

In June 2014, Rolf Harris was found guilty on 12 counts of indecent assault against four teenage girls between 1968 and 1986. Some of the charges included incidents where he had abused his fame to take advantage of young fans and children.

Later the same year in July 2014, Harris was sentenced to 5 years and 9 months in prison for his crimes. The judge called his offenses “a breach of trust” and condemned Harris for showing “no remorse at all” even during his trial.

At 84 years old when sentenced, Harris faced the strong possibility of spending the rest of his life incarcerated. However, he did not serve the entirety of that nearly 6 year term behind bars.

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Timeline of Rolf Harris’ Time in Prison

Here is an overview of the key dates related to Rolf Harris’ imprisonment:

  • June 2014 – Convicted on 12 counts of indecent assault
  • July 2014 – Sentenced to 5 years and 9 months in prison
  • July 2014 – Sent to HMP Bullingdon in Oxfordshire
  • September 2017 – Released from prison after serving 3 years

So while Harris was given close to a 6 year sentence, he was freed after only about half that time – just over 3 years.

Why Was Rolf Harris Released After Only 3 Years?

In the UK, all prisoners have their sentences reduced by half automatically under the Prisoners Earnings Act of 1996. This is to account for time served in good behavior.

Since Harris did not cause any disturbances and was considered a low risk, standard sentencing reduction policies allowed for his release after 3 years despite his longer term.

If he had not maintained good behavior or was deemed dangerous, Harris would have had to serve the full sentence or be denied parole. But under typical sentencing guidelines, his term was halved.

Rolf Harris’ Experience of Incarceration

By all accounts, Harris found prison life very difficult due to his age and health issues. Some details on his time behind bars include:

  • Assigned to work in the prison laundry for £20 a week
  • Suffered from depression and struggled with becoming isolated and withdrawn
  • Faced hostility from younger inmates who knew his crimes
  • Diagnosed with gout and arthritis which left him nearly immobile
  • Relied on walking aids and a wheelchair to get around
  • Spent much of his time alone watching TV
  • Rarely received visitors aside from family members
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Harris was ultimately released in September 2017 after being deemed no longer a threat. He left prison in poor health requiring constant care. The former TV star served his sentence quietly and survived the experience despite his advanced age.

Rolf Harris After Being Released From Prison

Rolf Harris has kept an extremely low profile since being released from prison in 2017. Some key details about his situation include:

  • Now requires live-in nurses to assist with round-the-clock care
  • Has not made any public statements or appearances
  • Currently resides at his riverside home in Bray, Berkshire
  • Had to sell several other properties to pay his £5.4 million legal bill
  • Many of his paintings were sold at auction to raise funds
  • His convictions ended his entertainment career and destroyed his reputation

At over 90 years old as of 2022, Harris is living out his remaining years quietly and in poor health. His name remains notorious for his shocking abuse of fame and position as a beloved celebrity.

Timeline Summary of Rolf Harris’ Prison Sentence

Here is a concise overview of how long Rolf Harris spent in prison:

  • June 2014: Convicted and given 5 year, 9 month sentence
  • July 2014: Imprisoned at HMP Bullingdon
  • July 2014 – September 2017: Served 3 year sentence per UK sentencing policies
  • September 2017: Released from prison after serving half of original term

So while Harris received close to a 6 year sentence, well-established sentencing guidelines reduced his time served to just over 3 years behind bars before being freed.


In summary, beloved entertainer Rolf Harris served 3 years in prison from 2014 to 2017 after being convicted on counts of sexual abuse. While he received close to a 6 year sentence, standard sentence reduction policies led to his release after only half that time. Harris emerged in poor health and has avoided public life since, with his legacy and reputation destroyed. The once popular TV star remains an example of a shocking celebrity downfall in the wake of horrific crimes being exposed.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Rolf Harris’ Imprisonment

What crimes was Rolf Harris convicted of?

He was found guilty on 12 counts of indecent assault against girls and young women from 1968 to 1986.

How long was Harris initially sentenced to prison?

Harris received a sentence of 5 years and 9 months (approximately 2,200 days) in July 2014.

How much time did he actually serve?

Harris ultimately served about 3 years (around 1,000 days) before his release.

Where was Rolf Harris imprisoned?

He served his sentence at HMP Bullingdon, a category B men’s prison in Oxfordshire, England.

Why was Harris released so much earlier than his sentence?

UK sentencing policies automatically reduce sentences by half for good behavior. This allowed Harris’ release after 3 years.

How old was Rolf Harris when he was convicted?

Harris was 84 years old when convicted in 2014 and 87 when he was released in 2017.

Did Harris show remorse for his crimes?

No – the judge noted Harris lacked remorse even during his trial and sentencing.

What has Harris done since being released?

He has stayed entirely out of the public eye while relying on nurses for care. His health remains poor.

Could Harris ever return to entertainment?

No. His sexual offense convictions ended his career and left him in disgrace.

Prison Inside Team

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Welcome to ‘Prison Inside,’ a blog dedicated to shedding light on the often hidden and misunderstood world within correctional facilities. Through firsthand accounts, personal narratives, and insightful reflections, we delve into the lives of those who find themselves behind bars, offering a unique perspective on the challenges, triumphs, and transformations that unfold within the confines of these walls.

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