Life imprisonment in Poland

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Life imprisonment in Poland (Kara dożywotniego pozbawienia wolności in Polish language) has an indeterminate length.

The prisoner must serve at least 25 years in order to be eligible for parole. The court may also choose to set a higher minimum term than 25 years at sentencing. Since the reintroduction of life imprisonment in 1995, the highest minimum term is 50 years. By comparison, life sentences in Canada, with the 25-year minimum non-parole period, are mandatory for high treason and, in some cases, murder, while the highest minimum term is 75 years (a sentence a judge can hand down to some murderers convicted of multiple counts of murder).


As of March 2007, 71 prisoners are serving a longer minimum term than 25 years: 39 convicts can apply for parole after 30 years, 24 after 35 years, 4 after 40 years and 2 after 50 years.

The President of Poland has the power to end the prisoner's life sentence by granting clemency at anytime; however, this has never happened. As of 2009, there are more than 200 people serving life sentences in Polish prisons. All were convicted of murder. If no changes in law are made, prisoners serving life imprisonment will first become eligible for parole in 2020.

For a person under the age of 18, the maximum penalty is 25 years' imprisonment.