Life imprisonment

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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. Crimes for which a person could receive this sentence include murder, attempted murder, severe child abuse, rape, espionage, high treason, drug dealing, vandalism, human trafficking, severe cases of fraud, aggravated criminal damage in English law, aggravated cases of burglary or robbery resulting in death or grievous bodily harm.

Life imprisonment can, in certain cases, also be imposed for transportation offences causing death, as a maximum term. Some American states and Canada allow judges to impose life imprisonment for such offences.

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 (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 (such as 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.[1] 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. Courts in South Africa have handed out at least two sentences that have exceeded a century (to Moses Sithole and Eugene de Kock) and were thus symbolic life 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.[2] As of 2009, Human Rights Watch had calculated that there were 2,589[3][4] youth offenders serving life without parole in the United States.[5]

United States[edit]

In 2011 the Supreme Court of the United States 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.[6]

Mugshot of Burton Phillips, convicted for life imprisonment for bank robbery, 1935

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 that 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.[7]

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",[7] 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".[7]

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,[7] resulting in the abolition of life sentences without the possibility of parole in non-homicide cases for juveniles.

The 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).[8] On 25 June 2012, according to the Catholic News Service (CNS) news brief posted that day,[9] 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 that 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.

World view[edit]

Life imprisonment laws around the world:
  Life imprisonment sentence is used
  Life imprisonment may be imposed only on men
  Life imprisonment laws have been abolished
  Life imprisonment status unknown, presumed legal

Reform or abolition[edit]

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 also Portugal, which sets the maximum sentence at 30 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 the Portuguese colonial administration. 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.[10]

Overview by jurisdiction[edit]

Summary by country[edit]

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[citation needed] By President
Albania Albania Yes, 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)
 Armenia Yes, but only for men 20 years Maximum 30 years for all women No Murder, terrorism Collaborating with Azerbaijani armed forces, treason  ?? By President
Austria Austria[11] 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 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 20 years None No Murder, terrorism Drug trafficking Yes By President
 Belarus Yes but only for men aged between the age of 18 and 65 (same as Russia) 25 years None  ??  ??  ?? Maximum 15 years By Courts Yes (with the exception of women as well as men under the age of 18 and over the age of 65).
Belgium 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)[12] None No None Murder under 12: never prosecution
12–15: max. detained till the age of 20
16–17: max. 30 years' imprisonment[13]
Parole by Conditional Release Commission or pardon by King
 Belize Yes Never  ??  ??  ??  ??  ??  ??
 Bolivia No 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)[14] Varies, depending on sentence 30 years No No life imprisonment sentence No life imprisonment sentence No No life imprisonment sentence
 Bulgaria[15] 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
 Cambodia Yes Never None No Murder, genocide, crimes against huamanity, terrorism Drug trafficking Yes By King
Canada Canada Yes 7 years minimum to infinite[16][17] None Yes High treason, murder, war crimes, and crimes against humanity Various crimes including armed robbery, extortion, and most offenses resulting in death under 12: Never prosecuted

12–13: Max 10 years for first degree murder, 7 years for second degree murder

14–17: Yes, but only when tried as adult, with lower parole eligibility date.

Abolished in 1976.
 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 20 years, 40 years for violent crimes 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
By President
China 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 Croatia No[18] Varies, depending on sentence 40 years[18] 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[citation needed] By President Yes
 Cyprus  ??  ??  ??  ??  ??
 Czech Republic[19] Yes 20 years general
30 or more years if part of sentence[20]
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 Denmark Yes 12 years, or never[citation needed] None[21] Yes  ??  ?? Maximum 16 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 30 years 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.[22] Maximum length 10 years Pardon by president[23]
Finland Finland Yes 12 years for court release, any time for presidential pardon[24] 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 France Yes 18–22 years (30 years or never for very rare cases) None Yes, but only if decided by court at sentencing None Aggravated murder, aggravated torture, aggravated treason, drug kinping, crimes against humanity, war crimes under 16: max. 20 years' imprisonment By president, with countersignature from Prime minister and ministry of justice
Germany Germany Yes 15 years[25] None No Aggravated murder,[26] genocide resulting in death,[27] crimes against humanity resulting in death,[28] war crimes against persons resulting in death[29] See details 10 years By Federal President or Minister-President
 Georgia Yes 25 years None No Murder Terrorism, treason  ?? Pardon by president
Greece 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, China Yes Individually set by judge None Yes Murder, Genocide involving killing Manslaughter, drug trafficking, treason, incitement to mutiny, piratical acts, Must have minimum term set By Chief Executive of Hong Kong, under the recommendation of Long Term Prison Sentences Review Board
 Iceland Yes Never; only pardon by president None Yes None Treason, murder, kidnapping and grand and/or repeated theft. Maximum 10 years By President
 India Yes 25 years or never 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
Republic of Ireland Ireland Yes 12–30 years or never; individually set by judge None Yes[citation needed] Murder, treason, some serious injuries, etc. see details See details  ?? By President
Israel Israel Yes Never; only under pardon by president None Yes[citation needed] Murder, terrorism Kidnapping child with intent to murder Yes By president usually after 30 years
Italy 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 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
Laos Lao People's Democratic Republic Yes Never None Yes  ??  ??  ??  ??
 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 Yes[30][31]
 Lithuania Yes Never; only pardon by president None Yes Murder, terrorism  ??  ?? By President
 Liechtenstein Yes 15 years None No None Murder, terrorism  ?? Pardon by prince
 Luxembourg Yes 15 years None Yes Murder, treason Terrorism  ?? By Grand Duke
 Macau, China No Varies, depending on sentence 25 years (30 in exceptional circumstances)[32] No No life imprisonment sentence No life imprisonment sentence  ?? No life imprisonment sentence
Republic of Macedonia Republic of 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
 Malta Yes Never; only pardon by President None Yes Murder, terrorism  ??  ?? By President
Mexico Mexico No (exception of Chihuahua) Varies, depending on sentence 60 years (70 years if convicted of murder involving kidnapping) No[33] No life imprisonment sentence No life imprisonment sentence  ?? No life imprisonment sentence
Moldova Republic of Moldova Yes 35 years None Yes Murder, terrorism  ??  ?? By President
 Monaco Yes 15 years None Yes Murder, terrorism, genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity  ??  ?? By President
 Morocco Yes Never None No Murder, terrorism, treason Drug trafficking and manufacturing Yes By King / Queen
Netherlands 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 New Zealand Yes 10 years, 17 years, 20 years, 30 years or never; individually set by judge None Yes Treason Murder (mandatory unless manifestly unjust)
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[34] None Yes  ??  ?? No life imprisonment sentence  ??
 Democratic People's Republic of Korea Yes Never None Yes (de facto and de jure) Murder, espionage, treason  ?? Yes By president
Norway 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 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 (30 years in special circumstances) 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[35] 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[36] Under 18: max. 20 years' imprisonment[37] 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 Russian Federation Yes, but only for men between 18 and 65 years. 25 years or 30 years (25 years for murder and 30 years for murder with exceptional circumstances unless mutiple murders are committed for life imprisonment to be applied) 25 years' imprisonment or 30 years in special circumstances for all women and men between the age of 18 and 65 unless multiple murders are committed for life imprisonment to be applied No No See details under 18: max. 10 years' imprisonment By President
 Saudi Arabia Yes Never None No Apostasy, Drug trafficking, Willful killing, Homosexuality, witchcraft Yes By King Yes
 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 Slovakia Yes 25 years None Yes Murder, terrorism, treason Crimes against humanity, war crimes under 14: no imprisonment
14–17: max. 15 years' imprisonment[38]
By President
 Slovenia Yes 15 years None Yes Murder, treason Terrorism, drug offenses, crimes against humanity  ?? By President
South Africa South Africa Yes 10, 15, or 25 years None No[citation needed] Certain murder, rape and robbery  ??  ??  ??
 Republic of 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 Spain No Varies, depending on sentence 40 years No No life imprisonment sentence No life imprisonment sentence  ?? No life imprisonment sentence
Syria Syrian Arab Republic Yes Never None No Murder, political crimes, terrorism, treason Drug offenses Yes By President Yes
Sweden 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, terror crimes, rebellion, endangering the public health by spread of contagion or poison, disloyalty when negotiating with foreign powers, dealing with anti-personnel mines, cluster bombs or chemical or nuclear weapons, unlawful nuclear explosion, treason, genocide and (the following in wartime only) mutiny, insubordination, undermining the will to fight, desertation, unauthorised capitulation, negligence of war preparations and negligence of battle duty; attempts, accessories, accomplices and incitements of all the above crimes might also be punished with life. [39] under 21: no life imprisonment By the District Court of Orebro (parole hearing). Or by the Government (pardon).[40]
Switzerland Switzerland Yes 10 years or 15 years; individually set by judge None Yes None Aggravated murder,[41] aggravated hostage-taking,[42] genocide,[43] endangering the independence of the country[44] under 15: no imprisonment
15–17: max. 4 years' imprisonment[45]
By Federal Assembly (Parliament)[46]
 Republic of China (Taiwan) Yes 25 years 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
 Thailand Yes Never None No Murder, terrorism, drug trafficking and manufacturing Kidnapping, sex offenses Yes By King
 Tunisia Yes Never None No Murder, terrorism, treason, hijacking, espionage, attempting to overthrow the government Drug trafficking Yes By President
Turkey Turkey Yes Life imprisonment: 24 years (30 if organized crime), Multiple life imprisonments: 30 years (34 if organized crime), Aggravated life imprisonment: 30 years (36 if organized crime), Multiple aggravated life imprisonments: 36 years (40 if organized crime), or never (aggravated life imprisonment for terrorism) 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
United Kingdom United Kingdom ( 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 10-17: starting point 12 years, maximum usually 15 years. 18-20: starting point 15 years, up to 30 years if serious enough that it would require a "whole life tariff" if the offender was 21+. 21+: starting point 15 years, whole life tariff or "forever". All offenders at least aged under 21 have to be set a release or parole date. Compassionate release and pardon by Secretary of State for Justice; amnesty by Royal decree alone (by means of the Royal prerogative of mercy) or with Act of Parliament in accordance with the principle of Parliamentary sovereignty (last amnesty in 1747).
United KingdomUnited Kingdom:  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 (by means of the Royal prerogative of mercy) alone or with act of parliament (in accordance with the principle of Parliamentary sovereignty).
United KingdomUnited Kingdom:  Northern Ireland Yes Individually set by judge None No[47][48] Murder, Rape Robbery  ?? General release through a referendum based agreement in 1998 (became applicable in 3 cases i, ii, iii). The Royal prerogative of mercy or an Act of Parliament (in accordance with the principle of Parliamentary sovereignty) can be used to grant amnesty like the rest of the UK.
 Ukraine Yes Never; only pardon by President None No Murder with aggravating circumstances  ?? Maximum 15 years By President
United States United States of America 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, 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
 Venezuela No Varies, depending on sentence 30 years No No life imprisonment sentence No life imprisonment sentence ?? No life imprisonment sentence
 Vietnam Yes 12 years to term sentence and 14 to release None Yes (de jure)  ??  ?? under 16: max. 14 years' imprisonment
16–17: max. 18 years' imprisonment
By president Yes

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.sentencingproject.org/detail/news.cfm?news_id=1636&id=107
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ "State Distribution of Youth Offenders Serving Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)". Human Rights Watch. 2 October 2009. Retrieved 3 August 2011. 
  4. ^ "Stats by State « The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth". Endjlwop.org. Retrieved 3 August 2011. 
  5. ^ "The Rest of Their Lives: Life without Parole for Child Offenders in the United States", 2008.
  6. ^ David G. Savage (17 May 2010). "Supreme Court Restricts Life Sentences Without Parole for Juveniles". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c d Drinan, C. H. (2012, March). "Graham on the Ground". Washington Law Review, 87(1), 51–91. Criminal Justice Abstracts. Retrieved 28 October 2012.
  8. ^ "Criminal justice: Supreme Court to consider constitutionality of life without parole for young killers". Chicago Tribune. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 30 March 2012. 
  9. ^ "Court bars mandatory life without parole for youths, rejects cross case". Catholic News Service. 25 June 25 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  10. ^ Kevin Johnson (22 July 2009). "Report wants life without parole abolished". USA Today. 
  11. ^ "section 18 of the Austrian criminal code". Ris.bka.gv.at. Retrieved 30 March 2012. 
  12. ^ (French) (Dutch) extract from the Belgian Official Journal advocaat.be 17 March 2013.
  13. ^ (Dutch) Jeugdsanctierecht in Europa: is uithandengeving een evidentie? Jura falconis, jg 44, 2007–2008, nr 1, pp. 3–38
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ "Criminal code of the Republic of Bulgaria". Legislationline.org. Retrieved 30 March 2012. 
  16. ^ "Baumgartner gets life with no parole for 40 years; harshest punishment in decades". CTV News. 11 September 2013. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  17. ^ Jen Gerson (11 September 2013). "Travis Baumgartner given harshest sentence since elimination of the death penalty for killing three co-workers". National Post. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
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  26. ^ sec. 211(1) German Criminal Code
  27. ^ sec. 6(1) German Criminal Code on crimes against international law and war crimes Völkerstrafgesetzbuch
  28. ^ sec. 7(1) German Criminal Code on crimes against international law and war crimes
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  38. ^ § 117 Slovak Criminal Code
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  42. ^ art. 185 Swiss Criminal Code
  43. ^ art. 264 Swiss Criminal Code
  44. ^ art. 266 Swiss Criminal Code
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