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Is R. Kelly in Prison?

R. Kelly is an R&B singer who has faced multiple allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct throughout his career. Despite the accusations against him, R. Kelly managed to avoid any major legal consequences for decades. However, in the late 2010s, after the release of the documentary Surviving R. Kelly, there was a renewed interest in the singer’s alleged crimes. Several new cases were opened against R. Kelly, ultimately leading to his conviction and imprisonment in 2022.

Early Accusations Against R. Kelly

R. Kelly first faced accusations of misconduct in the 1990s when he illegally married R&B singer Aaliyah when she was just 15 years old. In 2002, R. Kelly was indicted on 21 counts of child pornography after a videotape surfaced that allegedly showed him engaging in sex acts with an underage girl. R. Kelly was ultimately acquitted of all charges in 2008 after the alleged victim did not testify.

Throughout the 2000s and 2010s, R. Kelly settled multiple lawsuits accusing him of sexual abuse and misconduct. However, he continued to maintain his innocence and avoided any major convictions.

Renewed Interest After Surviving R. Kelly Documentary

In January 2019, the documentary Surviving R. Kelly aired on Lifetime. The six-part series detailed the decades of sexual abuse allegations against the R&B singer. Several of R. Kelly’s alleged victims came forward to tell their stories in the documentary.

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The release of Surviving R. Kelly sparked a renewed interest in obtaining justice for the singer’s accusers. Public pressure mounted for investigations into R. Kelly’s alleged crimes.

Arrest, Trials, and Convictions of R. Kelly

In the wake of Surviving R. Kelly, multiple new investigations were opened against R. Kelly by state and federal prosecutors. Here is a timeline of the key events leading to his eventual imprisonment:

February 2019: Aggravated Sexual Abuse Charges

  • In February 2019, R. Kelly was arrested and charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
  • The charges were brought by Cook County prosecutors in Illinois and related to four women, three of whom were minors at the time.
  • R. Kelly pleaded not guilty and was released on bail.

July 2019: Federal Indictments

  • In July 2019, R. Kelly was arrested on federal charges brought by prosecutors in Illinois and New York.
  • The Illinois indictment included charges of child pornography, enticement of a minor, and obstruction of justice.
  • The New York indictment charged R. Kelly with racketeering related to the sexual exploitation of children.
  • He was denied bond and has remained in jail since his July 2019 arrest.

August 2019: Minnesota Charges

  • In August 2019, Minnesota prosecutors filed prostitution charges against R. Kelly related to an allegation that he solicited a 17-year-old girl in 2001.

March 2020: Updated Illinois Indictment

  • In March 2020, an updated federal indictment in Illinois added more sex abuse charges and new accusers.
  • The updated indictment contained 13 counts including child pornography, enticement of a minor, and obstruction of justice charges.

August 2021: New York Trial and Conviction

  • R. Kelly’s New York trial began on August 18, 2021, on charges of racketeering and sex trafficking.
  • After a six-week trial featuring testimony from dozens of witnesses, he was found guilty on all nine counts on September 27, 2021.
  • In June 2022, he was sentenced to 30 years in prison in the New York case.
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September 2021: Conviction in Illinois Trial

  • R. Kelly’s federal trial in Illinois began in August 2021, a few weeks after the New York trial started.
  • On September 27, 2021, the same day as the New York verdict, he was convicted in the Illinois case on six out of 13 counts.
  • In February 2022, he was sentenced to an additional 30 years in prison for the Illinois federal conviction.

Overall Prison Sentence

With his convictions in New York and Illinois, R. Kelly received a total prison sentence of 30 years in each case, to be served concurrently. So his total time in prison will be 30 years.

He still faces additional charges in Minnesota, but the 30-year federal sentence means he will remain imprisoned even if acquitted in that case.

Table of R. Kelly’s Alleged Crimes and Charges

Here is a summary timeline of R. Kelly’s alleged sexual abuse crimes and the criminal charges brought against him:

DateAlleged CrimeChargesStatus
1994Illegally marries 15-year-old singer AaliyahNo charges filedMarried annulled
1996-2002Creates child pornography with underage girls21 counts of child pornographyAcquitted at 2008 trial
2001Solicits sex from 17-year-old girlProstitution charges in MNUpcoming trial
2002-2018Sexual abuse and misconduct with multiple underage girlsRacketeering, sex traffickingConvicted, sentenced to 30 years
2002-2018Sexual abuse and obstruction of justiceChild pornography, enticement of minor, obstruction of justiceConvicted, sentenced to 30 years

So in summary, R. Kelly has been convicted of federal charges related to racketeering, sex trafficking, child pornography, and obstruction of justice. He is currently serving a 30-year prison sentence and faces additional charges.

Is R. Kelly Currently in Prison?

Yes, R. Kelly is currently in prison after being convicted on federal charges in New York and Illinois in 2021. He was sentenced to a total of 30 years in prison and is serving his sentence concurrently for both convictions.

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R. Kelly was taken into federal custody in July 2019 after being arrested on indictments in New York and Illinois. He has remained incarcerated since then while awaiting trial and after his convictions.

In June 2022, after his sentencing in the New York case, R. Kelly was transported to a federal prison in Brooklyn to begin serving his 30-year prison term. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, he is currently being held at MCC Chicago.

R. Kelly still faces prostitution charges in Minnesota. However, the 30-year prison sentence means he will not be released even if found not guilty in the Minnesota case. He does have the right to appeal his federal convictions.

Unless his appeals are successful, R. Kelly will remain in federal prison until at least his late 70s based on his 30-year sentence. He was born in 1967, so 30 years in prison means he would not be released until at least 2057, when he would be 90 years old.


After decades of avoiding consequences for alleged sexual abuse and misconduct, R. Kelly is finally serving a prison sentence for his crimes. Following renewed scrutiny from the Surviving R. Kelly documentary and intense pressure from activists, federal prosecutors were able to build cases strong enough to convict R. Kelly.

R. Kelly’s 30-year prison sentence shows that even powerful celebrities can eventually be held accountable through the justice system. However, it took decades of alleged abuse before R. Kelly faced any major consequences. This demonstrates the difficulties often faced trying to prosecute sexual crimes committed by celebrities.

Many questions still remain unanswered about the full extent of R. Kelly’s alleged abuses and potential enablers who may have helped him avoid prosecution for so long. But the convictions do send an important message that high-profile status will not shield predatory behavior forever. R. Kelly will now likely spend the rest of his life in prison paying for his crimes.

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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