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How Much Time Did R. Kelly Get in Prison?

R. Kelly, the Grammy-winning R&B singer, was convicted in September 2021 on multiple counts of sex trafficking and racketeering. This conviction stemmed from decades of allegations that Kelly sexually abused women and underage girls.

Kelly’s 2021 trial in a Brooklyn federal court centered around accusations by six women that Kelly had sexually exploited them. After a six-week trial and two days of deliberations, a jury found Kelly guilty on all nine counts against him.

R. Kelly’s Prison Sentence

In June 2022, R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison for sex trafficking and racketeering. This was the minimum sentence he could receive based on his convictions.

Kelly, now 56 years old, will not be eligible for release until he is around 80 years old. This essentially amounts to a life sentence for the disgraced R&B artist.

Breakdown of Prison Sentence

Here is a breakdown of the sentence Kelly received on each count:

  • 20 years for racketeering
  • 10 years for sex trafficking
  • 9 years for the sexual exploitation of a child
  • 1 year for forced labor

The sentences for the first three counts will run consecutively, meaning one after the other. The one year for forced labor will run concurrently.

In total, Kelly will serve 30 years in federal prison.

Possibility of Additional Charges

R. Kelly still faces additional criminal charges in Minnesota and Illinois state courts. If convicted on those state charges, he could face up to 30 more years in prison.

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Federal prosecutors have said that Kelly’s behavior was ” calculate, methodical, and part of a long-standing pattern of using his platform, resources and networks to exploit children and women.” It remains to be seen if any additional convictions will lengthen his time behind bars.

History of Sexual Misconduct Allegations Against R. Kelly

For decades, R. Kelly faced accusations of sexual misconduct and abuse, especially against underage girls. Here is a timeline of the key allegations against Kelly over the years:

  • 1994 – R. Kelly, then 27 years old, marries 15-year-old singer Aaliyah. The marriage is annulled months later over Aaliyah’s age.
  • 1996 – A lawsuit accuses Kelly of engaging in sexual relations with then-high school student Tiffany Hawkins when he was in his 20s. Kelly settles the lawsuit in 1998.
  • 2002 – Video circulates appearing to show Kelly engaged in sexual acts with a 14-year-old girl. Kelly is indicted on child pornography charges over the tape but is acquitted in 2008.
  • 2017 – BuzzFeed publishes an explosive report detailing allegations that Kelly runs an “abusive sex cult” involving young women. More accusers start coming forward.
  • 2019 – Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly” airs, shedding more light on sexual abuse allegations. Kelly is arrested soon after on federal sex crime charges.

Despite these long-running allegations, Kelly continued to have a successful music career and evade serious legal consequences for decades. His conviction in 2021 marked a major downfall for the previously untouchable R&B artist.

Details of Convicted Crimes

R. Kelly was found guilty on 9 total counts in his federal trial. Here are more details on each of the specific crimes he was convicted of:


This charge related to R. Kelly leading an enterprise designed to recruit women and underage girls for sex. He was found guilty of one count of racketeering and received a 20 year sentence for it.

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Sex Trafficking

Kelly was found guilty on 3 counts of sex trafficking related to allegations from the trial that he abused Jerhonda Pace, Faith and Sonja. He received a 10 year sentence for each count of sex trafficking, to be served consecutively.

In total, Kelly received 30 years just for the sex trafficking convictions.

Sexual Exploitation of a Child

This conviction stemmed from a 2017 allegation that Kelly videotaped himself having sex with a 14-year-old girl and then paid her $200 to keep quiet. This incident was at the center of Kelly’s 2008 child pornography trial where he was acquitted.

For the 2021 conviction on this count, Kelly received a 9 year sentence.

Forced Labor

Kelly was found guilty of one count of forced labor related to allegations he coerced a 17-year-old boy to work for him in the early 2000s.

He received a 1 year sentence for the forced labor conviction, to be served concurrently with the other counts.

Victim Impact Statements at Sentencing

Several of Kelly’s victims provided emotional impact statements at his sentencing about how he abused them and the lasting trauma it has caused.

Here are quotes from two of his victims who spoke at the sentencing hearing:

“With every addition of a new victim, you grew in wickedness, cockiness, diminishing any form of humanity or self-awareness, which soon became the breeding ground for your God-like complex.” – Victim Lizzette Martinez

“Robert, you destroyed so many people’s lives.” – Victim Angela

Federal prosecutors also characterized Kelly as showing no remorse and failing to accept responsibility for his crimes.

How long will R. Kelly be in prison?

R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison in June 2022. With good behavior, he will serve around 85% of that full sentence, equating to just over 25 years behind bars.

What was R. Kelly actually convicted of?

A jury found R. Kelly guilty on 9 total counts – 1 count of racketeering, 3 counts of sex trafficking, 1 count of sexual exploitation of a child, and 1 count of forced labor.

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Where will R. Kelly serve his prison sentence?

Kelly has not yet been assigned to a specific federal prison facility. He was held in a Brooklyn federal detention center immediately after his conviction.

What other legal troubles does R. Kelly still face?

R. Kelly faces additional charges in state courts in Minnesota and Illinois. If convicted in those cases, he could face up to 30 more years in prison on top of his federal sentence.

How old will R. Kelly be when released from prison?

Based on the 30 year sentence and assuming a release after around 25 years for good behavior, R. Kelly would be around 80 years old when he completes his federal prison term.


The sentencing of R. Kelly to 30 years in federal prison marks a major milestone after decades of sexual abuse allegations against the R&B artist. While his victims expressed that justice was served, Kelly plans to appeal the convictions.

Kelly built his music career and fame while allegedly abusing minors and women behind closed doors. His case stands as a prominent example of the #MeToo movement finally bringing consequences for powerful men who exploit others. Kelly evaded serious legal punishment for sexual misconduct claims for nearly 30 years before his recent convictions.

While Kelly was once untouchable in the music industry, his legacy now stands tarnished. At 56 years old, he faces spending the rest of his life incarcerated and registered as a sex offender. R. Kelly’s downfall stands as a warning to others who abuse their power and influence.

Prison Inside Team

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