|This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2009)|
|Criminal trials and convictions|
|Rights of the accused|
|Related areas of law|
Life imprisonment (also known as a life sentence, lifelong incarceration or life incarceration) is any sentence of imprisonment for a serious crime under which the convicted person is to remain in prison for the rest of his or her life or until paroled. Examples of crimes for which a person could receive this sentence include murder, severe child abuse, rape, espionage, high treason, drug dealing, or human trafficking, or aggravated cases of burglary or robbery resulting in death or grievous bodily harm.
This sentence does not exist in all countries. Portugal was the first country in the world to abolish life imprisonment by the prison reforms of Sampaio e Melo in 1884. However, where life imprisonment is a possible sentence, there may also be formal mechanisms to request parole after a certain period of imprisonment. This means that a convict could be entitled to spend the rest of the sentence (that is, until he or she dies) outside prison. Early release is usually conditional depending on past and future conduct, possibly with certain restrictions or obligations. In contrast, when a fixed term of imprisonment has ended, the convict is free.
The length of time and the modalities surrounding parole vary greatly for each jurisdiction. In some places, convicts are entitled to apply for parole relatively early, in others, only after several decades. However, the time until being entitled to apply for parole does not necessarily tell anything about the actual date of parole being granted. Article 110 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) stipulates that for the gravest forms of crimes (e.g., war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide), a prisoner ought to serve two-thirds of a fixed sentence, or 25 years in the case of a life sentence. The highest determined prison sentence that can be imposed in the ICC, aside from life imprisonment, is 30 years (article 77 1) a)). After this period, the court will review the sentence to determine whether or not it should be reduced.
The US has the world's largest population behind bars and leads in life sentences as well, at a rate of 50 people per 100,000 residents imprisoned for life. Some technically finite sentences are handed out, especially in the United States that exceed a century and thus are seen as being symbolic life sentences, since without indefinite life extension nobody would ever be able to live long enough to serve those sentences.
Unlike other areas of criminal law, sentences handed to minors do not differ from those given to legal adults. A few countries worldwide allow for minors to be given lifetime sentences that have no provision for eventual release. Countries that allow life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for juveniles include Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Belize, Brunei, Cuba, Dominica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, and the United States. Of these, only the United States currently has minors serving such sentences. As of 2009, Human Rights Watch had calculated that there were 2,589 youth offenders serving life without parole in the United States.
In 2011 the United States Supreme court ruled that sentencing minors to life without parole, automatically (as the result of a statute) or as the result of a judicial decision, for crimes other than intentional homicide, violated the 8th Amendment's ban on "cruel and unusual" punishment, in the case of Graham v. Florida.
Graham v. Florida was a significant case in juvenile justice. In Jacksonville, Florida, Terrence J. Graham tried to rob a restaurant along with three adolescent accomplices. During the robbery one of Graham's accomplices had a metal bar which he used to hit the restaurant manager twice in the head. Once arrested, Graham was charged with attempted armed robbery and armed burglary with assault/battery. The maximum sentence he faced from these charges was life without the possibility of parole, and the prosecutor wanted to charge him as an adult. During the trial, Graham pled guilty to the charges, resulting in three years of probation, one year of which had to be served in jail. Since he had been awaiting trial in jail, he already served six months and therefore was released after six additional months.
Within six months of his release, Graham was involved in another robbery. Since he violated the conditions of his probation, his probation officer reported to the trial court about his probation violations a few weeks before Graham turned 18 years old. It was a different judge presiding over his trial for the probation violations a year later. While Graham denied any involvement of the robbery, he did admit to fleeing from the police. The trial court found that Graham violated his probation by "committing a home invasion robbery, possessing a firearm, and associating with persons engaged in criminal activity", and sentenced him to 15 years for the attempted armed robbery plus life imprisonment for the armed burglary. The life sentence Graham received meant he had a life sentence without the possibility of parole, "because Florida abolished their parole system in 2003".
Graham's case was presented to the United States Supreme Court, with the question of whether juveniles should receive life without the possibility of parole in non-homicide cases. The Justices eventually ruled that such a sentence violated the juvenile's 8th amendment rights, protecting them from punishments that are disproportionate to the crime committed, resulting in the abolition of life sentences without the possibility of parole in non-homicide cases for juveniles.
The U.S. Supreme Court considered, in the spring of 2012, the question of whether or not minors should be sentenced, at least automatically, to life without parole for any crime at all, including the only cases in which such a punishment was at that time an option: first-degree murder with aggravating factors (felony murder, where life without parole was then given as an option to juveniles, and where an adult in the same context could be charged with capital murder and given life or the death penalty). On June 25, 2012, according to the Catholic News Service (CNS) news brief posted that day, the Court ruled on the case of Miller v. Alabama in a 5–4 decision and with the majority opinion written by Associate Justice Elena Kagan that life in prison without parole as an automatic sentence would be considered unconstitutional in all cases in the United States. The majority opinion stated that the judge should take into account mitigating factors and other information which are usually of relevance during the sentencing phase. Such factors would include, but are not limited to: information on the nature of the crime and the victim(s), age, record, potential for rehabilitation and contribution to society, wishes of the prosecution, defense, and the victim's family, maturity level, degree of malice and forethought and degree of participation, aggravating circumstances or accompanying crimes, family environment and related circumstances such as a history of mistreatment, literacy and educational level, psychosocial and neurological development, and many others. Their reasoning was that such a sentence violated the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The decision was announced on the penultimate day of the 2011–12 Supreme Court term. For now, a sentence of life in prison without parole could still be handed down for aggravated first-degree murder if it was determined, after those relevant considerations, to be warranted.
Reform or abolition
In a number of countries, life imprisonment has been effectively abolished. Many of the countries whose governments have abolished both life imprisonment and indefinite imprisonment have been culturally influenced or colonized by Spain or Portugal, and have written such prohibitions into their current constitutional laws.
A number of European countries have abolished all forms of indefinite imprisonment, including Serbia, Croatia, and Spain, which set the maximum sentence at 40 years, Bosnia and Herzegovina which sets the maximum sentence at 45 years, and Portugal, which sets the maximum sentence at 25 years, while Norway has abolished life imprisonment but retains other forms of indefinite imprisonment.
The only country in Asia to have abolished all forms of indefinite imprisonment is the Chinese dependency (Special Administrative Region) and former Portuguese colony of Macau, which maintains a maximum sentence of 30 years, having inherited the law from Portuguese rule. Three African countries, the Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, and Cape Verde have abolished life imprisonment; the maximum sentence is 30 years in Mozambique and Republic of the Congo, and 25 years in Cape Verde.
In South and Central America, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Colombia, Uruguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic have all abolished life imprisonment. The maximum sentence is 75 years in El Salvador, 60 years in Colombia, 50 years in Costa Rica and Panama, 40 years in Honduras, 35 years in Ecuador, 30 years in Nicaragua, Bolivia, Uruguay, and Venezuela, and 25 years in Paraguay. Brazil has a maximum sentence of 30 years under statutory law, but capital punishment and life imprisonment during wartime (for military crimes such as treason, desertion, and mutiny) are allowed in the Constitution.
In the United States, a 2009 report by the Sentencing Project suggested that life imprisonment without parole should be abolished, a suggestion that was met with opposition from law enforcement officials.
Overview by jurisdiction
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (September 2009)|
Summary by country
|Jurisdiction (link to details)||Life imprisonment||Minimum to serve before eligibility for requesting parole||Maximum length of sentence (under life)||Indefinite sentence (excl. preventive or psychiatric detainment)||Mandatory sentence||Possible other sentence||Under age of 18 (or 21)||Pardon, amnesty, other release||Death penalty|
|Afghanistan||Yes||Never||None||Yes||Murder, terrorism, violation of Islamic law||Treason, drug trafficking||Yes||By President|
|Albania||Yes, but only for men above age 18||25 years||Maximum 30 years for all women||??||Murder with aggravating factor||Terrorism, war crimes||under 18: max. 20 years' imprisonment||Only in extraordinary circumstances may the convicted serving life imprisonment be released on parole|
|Argentina||Yes||20 years or never||None||Yes||Murder with aggravating circumstances; murder of a relative; murder of and/or by a police officer; treason||Serial rape; Gender homicide||??||By president or governor of a state (depending on jurisdiction)||Yes|
|Armenia||Yes, but only for men||20 years or never||Maximum 30 years for all women||No||Murder, terrorism||Collaborating with Azerbaijani armed forces, treason||??||By President|
|Austria||Yes||15 years (Imprisonment for a definite period)
or never (Imprisonment for lifetime, when clemency is rejected by President)
|None||Yes||Genocide||Murder, high level drug dealing, Nazi activism, production or distribution of chemical warfare agents to be used in armed conflict; abduction, robbery, rape and statutory rape if the crime causes the victim's death, sea and air piracy and arson if the crime causes the death of a large number of people||under 16: max. 10 years' imprisonment
16–17: max. 15 years' imprisonment
18–20: max. 20 years' imprisonment
|Pardon by president|
|Australia||Yes||10 years, 20 years, 25 years, or never; individually set by judge||None||Yes||Murder of police officer or other public official, murder in South Australia, Queensland, Northern Territory, aircraft hijacking||Treason, terrorism, drug trafficking, rape, serious child sex offences||under 18: must have minimum term set||Compassionate release by Governor of state/Administrator of territory, or Governor-General|
|Azerbaijan||Yes||Never||None||No||Murder, terrorism||Drug trafficking||Yes||By President|
|Belarus||Yes||25 years||None||??||??||??||Maximum 15 years||By Courts||Yes|
|Belgium||Yes||15 years (no previous conviction or below 3 years), 19 years (previous conviction below 5 years), or 23 years (previous conviction 5 years or more)||None||No||None||Murder||under 12: never prosecution
12–15: max. detained till the age of 20
16–17: max. 30 years' imprisonment
|Parole by Conditional Release Commission or pardon by King|
|Bolivia||No (Except in wartime)||Varies, depending on sentence||30 years||No||No life imprisonment sentence||No life imprisonment sentence||??||No life imprisonment sentence|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||No||Varies, depending on sentence||45 years||No||No life imprisonment sentence||No life imprisonment sentence||??||No life imprisonment sentence|
|Brazil||No (except in wartime)||Varies, depending on sentence||30 years||No||No life imprisonment sentence||No life imprisonment sentence||??||No life imprisonment sentence||Yes|
|Bulgaria||Yes||20 years or never||None||Yes||None||Aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, treason, espionage, war crimes, genocide, desertion in wartime||Maximum 12 years||By President||Yes|
|Canada||Yes||7 years minimum to infinite||None||Yes||High treason, murder, war crimes, and crimes against humanity||Various crimes including armed robbery, extortion, and most offenses resulting in death||Yes, but only when tried as adult, with lower parole eligibility date.||Compassionate release and pardon by minister of justice|
|Cape Verde||No||Varies, depending on sentence||25 years||No||No life imprisonment sentence||No life imprisonment sentence||??||No life imprisonment sentence|
|Colombia||No||Varies, depending on sentence||60 years||No||No life imprisonment sentence||No life imprisonment sentence||??||No life imprisonment sentence|
|Costa Rica||No||Varies, depending on sentence||50 years||No||No life imprisonment sentence||No life imprisonment sentence||??||No life imprisonment sentence|
|Chile||Yes||40 years or never||None||Yes||None||Treason, kidnapping with homicide or rape, rape with homicide, parricide, robbery with homicide or rape||14–15: max. 5 years' imprisonment
16–17: max. 10 years' imprisonment
|People's Republic of China||Yes||10 years for non-violent crimes; never for murder, rape, kidnap, arson, explosives offences, putting hazardous materials or other organized violent crimes||None||No||No||Various||Yes||By courts||Yes|
|Croatia||No||Varies, depending on sentence||40 years||No||No life imprisonment sentence||No life imprisonment sentence||No life imprisonment sentence||No life imprisonment sentence|
|Cuba||Yes||Never; only under pardon by president||None||No||Murder, Drug trafficking||??||Yes||By President||Yes|
|Czech Republic||Yes||20 years general
30 or more years if part of sentence
|None||No||None||Some cases of murder, public endangerment, treason, terrorism, genocide, crimes against humanity, use of forbidden combat device or forbidden combat tactics, war crimes, persecution of population, misuse of international symbols||15–18: max. 10 years' imprisonment||By President|
|Denmark||Yes||12 years, or never||None||Yes||??||??||Maximum 15 years||After 12 years entitled to request to Minister of Justice; granted by King or Queen of Denmark|
|Dominican Republic||No||Varies, depending on sentence||30 years||No||No life imprisonment sentence||No life imprisonment sentence||13–15: max. 5 years' imprisonment
16–17: max. 8 years' imprisonment
|No life imprisonment sentence|
|Ecuador||No||Varies, depending on sentence||35 years||No||No life imprisonment sentence||No life imprisonment sentence||??||No life imprisonment sentence|
|El Salvador||No (Except in wartime)||Varies, depending on sentence||75 years||No||No life imprisonment sentence||No life imprisonment sentence||??||No life imprisonment sentence|
|Egypt||Yes||Never||None||No||Murder, rape, kidnapping, terrorism||Drug offenses||Yes||Pardon by president|
|Estonia||Yes||Never||None||Yes (de facto)||None||Some cases of murder, some cases of handling drugs, crimes against humanity, genocide, acts of war against civilians, terrorism, violence against the independence of Estonia, causing an explosion using nuclear energy.||Maximum length 10 years||Pardon by president|
|Finland||Yes||12 years for court release, any time for presidential pardon||None||Yes||Murder||Genocide, high treason, espionage, war crimes, homicidal terrorist act||under 18: max. 15 years' imprisonment
under 21: minimum 10 years for parole request
|By president, Helsinki Court of Appeal|
|France||Yes||18–22 years, 30 years, or never||None||Yes, but only if decided by court at sentencing||None||Aggravated murder, aggravated torture, treason, terrorism, drug trafficking, crimes against humanity, war crimes, rape||under 16: max. 20 years' imprisonment||By president, with countersignature from Prime minister and ministry of justice|
|Germany||Yes||15 years||None||No||Aggravated murder, genocide resulting in death, crimes against humanity resulting in death, war crimes against persons resulting in death||See details||10 years||By Federal President or Minister-President|
|Greece||Yes||16 years, or 20 years in cases of multiple life sentences||None||Yes||Murder, terrorism||??||Maximum 20 years||By President|
|Hungary||Yes||20–40 years or never||None||Yes||Murder, after 3 violent crimes||Genocide, high treason||under 18: max. 15 years' imprisonment||By president|
|Honduras||No||Varies, depending on sentence||40 years||No||No life imprisonment sentence||No life imprisonment sentence||??||No life imprisonment sentence|
|Hong Kong||Yes||Individually set by judge||None||Yes||Murder||??||Must have minimum term set||By Chief Executive of Hong Kong, under the recommendation of Long Term Prison Sentences Review Board|
|Iceland||Yes||16 years||None||Yes||None||Treason, murder, kidnapping and grand and/or repeated theft.||Maximum 10 years||By President|
|India||Yes||14 years or never; individually set by judge||None||Yes||Murder, rape, robbery||Kidnapping,||Yes||May be pardoned or reprieved by exercise of prerogative clemency powers of the President or the Governor||Yes|
|Indonesia||Yes||Never||None||Yes||Murder, terrorism, kidnapping, rape, treason||??||??||By President||Yes|
|Iraq||Yes||Never||None||No||Murder, terrorism||Drug trafficking||Yes||By President|
|Ireland||Yes||12–30 years or never; individually set by judge||None||Yes||Murder, treason, some serious injuries, etc. see details||See details||??||By President|
|Israel||Yes||13–30 years or never||None||Yes||Murder, terrorism||Kidnapping child with intent to murder||Yes||By president usually after 30 years|
|Italy||Yes||21 years, 26 years, or never||None||Yes||Murder, terrorism, mafia association, drug trafficking, human trafficking, treason||Aggravated sexual assault, aggravated robbery, firearm trafficking||under 16: max. 20 years' imprisonment||By president|
|Jamaica||Yes||10–30 years or never; individually set by judge||None||Yes||??||??||??||??|
|Japan||Yes||10 years or never||None||Yes||Varies by prefecture (Murder)||Death sentence due to foreign aggression||Yes||By Emperor||Yes|
|Jordan||Yes||Never||None||No||Murder, terrorism, espionage||Drug trafficking||Yes||By King|
|Kazakhstan||Yes||25 years or never||None||Yes||Murder, terrorism||??||Maximum 20 years||By President|
|Kiribati||Yes||25 years or never||None||??||??||??||??||??|
|Kyrgyzstan||Yes||Never||None||Yes||Murder, terrorism||??||??||By President|
|Kosovo||No||Varies, depending on sentence||40 years||No||No life imprisonment sentence||No life imprisonment sentence||??||No life imprisonment sentence|
|Latvia||Yes||25 years||None||Yes||Murder, treason, terrorism, war crimes||Drug offenses, rape, robbery, sabotage, crimes against humanity||??||By President|
|Lebanon||Yes||Never||None||No||Murder, terrorism, treason||Drug trafficking and manufacturing||Yes||By President|
|Lithuania||Yes||25 years||None||Yes||Murder, terrorism||??||??||By President|
|Luxemborg||Yes||15 years||None||Yes||Murder, treason||Terrorism||??||By President|
|Macau||No||Varies, depending on sentence||25 years (30 in exceptional circumstances)||No||No life imprisonment sentence||No life imprisonment sentence||??||No life imprisonment sentence|
|Macedonia||Yes||15 years||None||Yes||Murder, terrorism||Rape, robbery, drug offenses crimes against humanity||Yes||By President|
|Malaysia||Yes||20 years or never||None||Yes||Murder, drug offenses, serious firearms/ammunition/explosive offenses, terrorism, rape, attack on monarch, violence to parliament, treason||??||??||By Yang di-Pertuan Agong / Federal Pardon Committee|
|Mexico||No (exception of Chihuahua)||Varies, depending on sentence||60 years (70 years if convicted of murder involving kidnapping)||No||No life imprisonment sentence||No life imprisonment sentence||??||No life imprisonment sentence|
|Morocco||Yes||Never||None||No||Murder, terrorism, treason||Drug trafficking and manufacturing||Yes||By King / Queen|
|The Netherlands||Yes||Never||None||Yes (de facto)||None||Attack on monarch, violence to parliament, several facts constituting an offence resulting in death of (a) person(s) (not manslaughter), manslaughter in combination with other facts, facts with intent to terrorism, treason||under 12: never prosecution
12–15: max. 12 months imprisonment
16–17: max. 24 months imprisonment
|By monarch (almost never granted)|
|Nepal||Yes||20 years||None||No||Murder, terrorism||??||??||By president|
|New Zealand||Yes||10 years, 17 years, 20 years, 30 years or never; individually set by judge||None||Yes||Treason||Murder, manslaughter, certain drug related||under 18: must have minimum term set||Sentence may be reduced or pardon granted by the Governor General (Rarely done)|
|Nicaragua||No||Varies, depending on sentence||30 years||No||No life imprisonment sentence||No life imprisonment sentence||??||No life imprisonment sentence|
|Nigeria||Yes||Never||None||Yes||??||??||No life imprisonment sentence||??|
|North Korea||Yes||Never||None||Yes (de facto and de jure)||Murder, espionage, treason||??||Yes||By president|
|Northern Cyprus||Yes||Never; Only pardon by President||None||Yes||Murder, Drug trafficking, terrorism, treason||Espionage, war crimes, mutiny, desertion||Maximum sentence for murder is 24 years; only terrorism related cases||Pardon by president; requires counter signature from Prime Minister and Minister of Justice|
|Norway||No||Varies, depending on sentence||21 years (can be extended indefinitely if the criminal poses a danger to society at the end of served time); 30 years for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity||Yes||No life imprisonment sentence||No life imprisonment sentence||No life imprisonment sentence, people over age of 15 can be sentenced by normal laws or to child protection||No life imprisonment sentence|
|Pakistan||Yes||25 years||None||??||??||??||??||By President||Yes|
|Panama||No||Varies, depending on sentence||50 years||No||No life imprisonment sentence||No life imprisonment sentence||??||No life imprisonment sentence|
|Paraguay||No||Varies, depending on sentence||25 years||No||No life imprisonment sentence||No life imprisonment sentence||??||No life imprisonment sentence|
|Peru||Yes||35 years or never||None||Yes||Murder with aggravated circumstances, terrorism, treason||Serious kidnapping, violent rape attempted murder||??||By President|
|Poland||Yes||25 years or more—individually set by judge||None||No||None||Genocide, war crimes, high treason, murder, assassination attempt of Polish president||under 18: max. 25 years' imprisonment||Pardon by president, Amnesty by act of parliament (last amnesty in 1989)|
|Portugal||No||Varies, depending on sentence||25 years||No||No life imprisonment sentence||No life imprisonment sentence||??||No life imprisonment sentence|
|Romania||Yes||20 years||None||No; replaced by 25 years' imprisonment at age 60||Genocide during wartime, inhumane treatment during wartime||Treason and other grave crimes against the state, extremely grave murder, capitulation, desertion on the battlefield, crimes against peace or humanity||Under 18: max. 20 years' imprisonment||Pardon by President, amnesty by act of Parliament|
|Republic of the Congo||No||Varies, depending on sentence||30 years||No||No life imprisonment sentence||No life imprisonment sentence||??||No life imprisonment sentence|
|Russia||Yes, but only for men between 18 and 65 years.||25 years||25 years' imprisonment or 30 years in special circumstances for all women and men above age 65||No||No||See details||under 18: max. 10 years' imprisonment||By President|
|Saudi Arabia||Yes||Never||None||No||Apostasy||Homosexuality, witchcraft, adultery, fornication||Yes||By King|
|Serbia||No||Varies, depending on sentence||40 years||No||No life imprisonment sentence||No life imprisonment sentence||??||No life imprisonment sentence|
|Singapore||Yes||20 years||None||Yes||Kidnapping for ransom||Drug trafficking, gun crime||Prisoner detained at the President's discretion||??|
|Slovakia||Yes||25 years||None||Yes||Murder, terrorism, treason||Crimes against humanity, war crimes||under 14: no imprisonment
14–17: max. 15 years' imprisonment
|Slovenia||Yes||25 years||None||Yes||Murder, treason||Terrorism, drug offenses, crimes against humanity||??||By President|
|Somalia||Yes||Never||None||No||Murder, rape, robbery||Sodomy, adultery, crimes against humanity||Yes||By President|
|South Africa||Yes||10, 15, or 25 years||None||No||Certain murder, rape and robbery||??||??||??|
|South Korea||Yes||10 years or never||None||No||High treason, robbery (rape) with deadly outcomes, arson, murder of relative, etc.||Counterfeiting or falsification of currency||Maximum 10 years (for certain violent crimes 20 years)||By President and requires agreement of National Assembly|
|Spain||No||Varies, depending on sentence||40 years||No||No life imprisonment sentence||No life imprisonment sentence||??||No life imprisonment sentence|
|Syria||Yes||Never||None||No||Murder, political crimes, terrorism, treason||Drug offenses||Yes||By President||Yes|
|Sweden||Yes||18 years or never, but parole hearing may be held after 10 years served, thus fixing a much later date for release on parole||None||Yes||None||Murder, kidnapping, arson, sabotage, devastation, hijacking, espionage, endangering public health by spread of contagion or poison, disloyalty when negotiating with foreign powers, dealing with anti-personnel mines or chemical or nuclear weapons, treason and (in wartime only) mutiny, insubordination, undermining the will to fight, desertation, unauthorised capitulation, negligence of war preparations and negligence of battle duty||under 21: no life imprisonment||By the District Court of Orebro (parole hearing). Or by the Government (pardon).|
|Switzerland||Yes||10 years or 15 years; individually set by judge||None||Yes||None||Aggravated murder, aggravated hostage-taking, genocide, endangering the independence of the country||under 15: no imprisonment
15–17: max. 4 years' imprisonment
|By Federal Assembly (Parliament)|
|Republic of China (Taiwan)||Yes||25 years
10–20 years before 30 June 2006
|None||Third violent crime||Aggravated murder, hard drug trafficking||Many violent crimes causing death, etc.||Banned by Criminal Code||By President|
|Tajikistan||Yes||Never||None||No||Murder, terrorism||Treason||Yes||By President|
|Tunisia||Yes||Never||None||No||Murder, terrorism||Drug trafficking||Yes||By President|
|Turkey||Yes||30 years, 36 years, 40 years, or in cases of terrorism, never||None||Yes||Murder with special cirucumstances, treason, terrorism||Sexual offences, military and political crimes||Maximum 24 years||By President in case of permanent illness, rehabilitation, disability or decrepitude|
|Turkmenistan||Yes||Never||None||No||Murder, terrorism||Treason||Yes||By President|
|UK: England and Wales||Yes||Individually set by judge (maximum Whole life tariff)||None||Yes||Murder, second serious violent or sexual crime||All common law offences, rape, inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent, treason, aggravated burglary, criminal damage with intent to endanger life, hijacking, destroying or endangering safety of an aircraft, possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, possession of a firearm with criminal intent, use of a firearm to resist arrest, terrorism, Importing or supplying Class A controlled drug||under 21: no whole life tariff||Compassionate release and pardon by Secretary of State for Justice; amnesty by Royal decree alone or with Act of Parliament (last amnesty in 1747).|
|UK: Scotland||Yes||Individually set by judge||None||Yes||Murder||??||No whole life tariff||Compassionate release by Cabinet Secretary for Justice (Scottish Government); amnesty by royal decree alone or with act of parliament|
|UK: Northern Ireland||Yes||Individually set by judge||None||No||Murder, Rape||Robbery||??||General release through a referendum based agreement in 1998 (became applicable in 3 cases i, ii, iii)|
|Ukraine||Yes||25 years||None||No||Murder with aggravating circumstances||??||Maximum 15 years||By President|
|United States||Yes||15 years minimum to infinite, or never (depending on crime and state)||None||Yes||Varies by state||Varies by state||Yes (de jure)||By president or governor of a state (depending on jurisdiction)||Yes (de jure)|
|Uruguay||No||Varies, depending on sentence||30 years||No||No life imprisonment sentence||No life imprisonment sentence||??||No life imprisonment sentence|
|Uzbekistan||Yes, but only for men aged between 18 and 60 years||25 years or never||30 years for women and men over the age of 60||No||None||Aggravated murder, terrorism||Maximum 10 years||By President|
|Vatican City||No||21 years, 26 years||30 to 35 years||No||No life imprisonment sentence||No life imprisonment sentence||No||No life imprisonment sentence|
|Venezuela||No||Varies, depending on sentence||30 years||No||No life imprisonment sentence||No life imprisonment sentence||??||No life imprisonment sentence|
|Vietnam||Yes||14 years or never||None||Yes (de jure)||??||??||under 16: max. 14 years' imprisonment
16–17: max. 18 years' imprisonment
- Death in prison
- Incapacitation (penology)
- Indefinite prison sentence
- Life imprisonment in the United States
- Use of capital punishment by nation
- The University of San Francisco Law School's Center for Law & Global Justice has found no cases outside of the United States in which the sentence is actually imposed on juveniles.
- "State Distribution of Youth Offenders Serving Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP) | Human Rights Watch". Hrworg. 2 October 2009. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
- "Stats by State « The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth". Endjlwop.org. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
- "The Rest of Their Lives: Life without Parole for Child Offenders in the United States", 2008.
- "Supreme Court Restricts Life Sentences Without Parole for Juveniles". Los Angeles Times. 17 May 2010. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
- Drinan, C. H. (2012, March). "Graham on the Ground". Washington Law Review, 87(1), 51-91. Criminal Justice Abstracts. Retrieved October 28, 2012.
- "Criminal justice: Supreme Court to consider constitutionality of life without parole for young killers". Chicago Tribune. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
- Kevin Johnson (22 July 2009). "Report wants life without parole abolished". USA Today.
- "section 18 of the Austrian criminal code". Ris.bka.gv.at. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
- (French) (Dutch) extract from the Belgian Official Journal advocaat.be 17 March 2013.
- (Dutch)Jeugdsanctierecht in Europa: is uithandengeving een evidentie? Jura falconis, jg 44, 2007-2008, nr 1, p. 3-38
- Brazil's Constitution prohibits the death penalty with a saving allowing the death penalty in wartime, if the state of war is duly declared by Congress (art. 5, item XLVII, subitem "a)"); the Constitution's next line (art. 5, item XLVII, subitem "b)"), prohibits life sentences. The clause prohibiting life imprisonment does not contain a saving similar to the death penalty clause, and thus life sentences are not allowed even in wartime. It is unclear, however, if the Presidential power of mercy, that allows the President to pardon or commute a penal sentence, could be used to reduce a death penalty imposed in wartime, transforming it into a sentence of life imprisonment.
- "Criminal code of the Republic of Bulgaria". Legislationline.org. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
- Kovčo Vukadin, Irma; Žakman-Ban, Vladimira; Jandrić-Nišević, Anita (2010). "Prisoner Rehabilitation in Croatia" (PDF). Varstvoslovje, Journal of Criminal Justice and Security 12 (2): 143–162. ISSN 1580-0253. Retrieved 1 December 2010.
- "Czech Criminal Code". Business.center.cz. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
- (The court may decide that only the time in less-than-maximum security prison counts for the purposes of parole and that the convict must serve at least ten years in maximum security; good behavior record needed for transfer to lower security in which 20 years must be served then)
- af ptho for TV 2 Nyhederne. "Hvorfor er livstid kun 16 år i Danmark? – TV 2 Nyhederne". Nyhederne-dyn.tv2.dk. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
- "Estonian Penal Code (English translation)". Retrieved 6 July 2013.
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