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A life sentence is a "life sentence" regardless of the country in which it is imposed. Generally the sentencing will be, "life without the possibility of parole" or something similar.

The convicted person then will have at least one automatic appeal unless he or she entered a guilty plea, although entering such a plea in the US does not necessarily negate the possibility of an appeal.

Life Sentences in England & WalesThere are 3 forms of life sentence. #1 Mandatory life sentence, which must be imposed following a conviction for murder. #2 Discretionary life sentence is one of more than 70 offences, other than murder, for which the law allows a sentence up to a maximum of life imprisonment (Solomon 2004). This often includes serious sexual and violent offences such as manslaughter, grievous bodily harm and rape. #3 Is the automatic life sentence. Under section 2 of the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997, a life sentence was automatically imposed for a 2nd or subsequent conviction for a serious sexual or violent offence unless exceptional circumstances exist for not doing so. This was phased out in 2005, and replaced by the Indeterminate Sentence for Public Protection, or IPP. This is normally imposed under similar circumstances to the old automatic life sentence, but the sentencing court has a little more discretion than under the old law. There are still automatic lifers in the prison system, and will be for some time to come.

Each person sentenced to life will have a tariff set, which will be the minimum time that they will spend in custody for the purposes of retribution and deterrence. Once this has expired, they will not be released automatically, but will be when the Parole Board assesses that the risk they present to the public has sufficiently reduced in order that it is safe to release them.

On the average a life sentence prisoner spend 13.7 years in prison! Once released they will be supervised in the community for a period and for the rest of their life they are liable to be recalled to prison should they represent a risk to the public. There are approx. 1,500 life sentence prisoners being actively supervised in the community and over 300 were released into the community for the first time in 2003. During 2002, 26 people were recalled to prison, including 7 who had been in the community for 10 years.

Since life sentence population has been steadily increasing over the last 10 years, (a reflection both of prisoners serving longer periods in custody and more people receiving life sentences.) This is like to increase as the impact of IPP sentences increases and the Criminal Justice Act 2003 introduced normal tariffs of 15 years, 30 years and whole life for the offence of murder, potentially increasing the amount of time lifers spend in prison.

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โˆ™ 2011-03-24 03:23:37
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Q: How many years in prison is a life sentence in the UK?
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