life imprisonment meaning

  "life imprisonment" in a sentence
Noun: life imprisonment
  1. A sentence of imprisonment until death

Derived forms: life imprisonments

Type of: captivity, immurement, imprisonment, incarceration

Encyclopedia: Life imprisonment

Punishment of a criminal by imprisonment for the rest of his life. The only crime that always carries a sentence of life imprisonment is murder, but there are many crimes (e.g.arson, manslaughter, wounding with intent, and rape) that carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, which is imposed in serious cases, and the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997provides for a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment for those convicted for a second time for certain of these crimes (see REPEAT OFFENDER). In practice the imprisonment may often not be for life: the Home Secretary may order the release of a life prisoner on licence, on the advice of the Parole Board (see PAROLE) and after consulting the Lord Chief Justice (and, if possible, the trial judge). The Crime (Sentences) Act 1997provides that the Parole Board has responsibility for the release of juveniles convicted of murder, rather than the Home Secretary. When imposing life imprisonment for murder, the judge may make a recommendation that the defendant should serve a minimum term (number of years), which is usually not less than 12 years and up to 35 years. This recommendation is not legally binding on the Horne Secretary, but in practice he will almost always follow it. Judges are also empowered to make a private representation to the Home Secretary, when imposing a life sentence, pointing out any special mitigating factors that might induco him to release the prisoner at an early date.


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  1. the principal criminal was sentenced to life imprisonment.
  2. his punishment of death was commuted to life imprisonment.
  3. his nephew, cliffort pyncheon was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment.
  4. he was sue life imprisonment ! more than 250 years
  5. he was sue life imprisonment ! more than 250 years

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PC Version