GLOSSARY

Life sentence definition

What does Life sentence mean?

Imprisonment for life is imposed in the most serious cases, although in almost all cases subject to a review by the Parole Board after the specified minimum term.

A life sentence is defined by the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (CJA 2003), s 277 as meaning a sentence of imprisonment for life, which is imposed on those convicted of murder who are 21 or more years of age. This is only imposed where there statute provides for a mandatory life sentence, such as murder. Life does not automatically mean the entire natural lifespan of the prisoner, and the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997, s 28 still provides that a prisoner should be eligible for parole after the stated minimum term except in those rare cases where the Judge imposes a 'whole life order' under CJA 2003, s 269(4).


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