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Reclusión perpetua (Spanish, from Latin: reclusio perpetua, meaning "permanent imprisonment") is a particular kind of sentence of imprisonment in the Philippines, Argentina, and several other countries.
In the Philippines, it is one of two sentences (the other being life imprisonment) designed to replace the death penalty and is in legal parlance near-synonymous with life imprisonment. However, there are several important distinctions between the two terms:
- Reclusión perpetua is prescribed on crimes punishable by the Revised Penal Code, while life imprisonment is imposed on offences punishable by Special Laws.
- Reclusión perpetua carries the accessory penalty in which, as defined by Philippine Law, guilty parties suffer lifetime barring from holding political office. Life imprisonment does not carry this penalty.
- Unlike life imprisonment, the length of a sentence for reclusión perpetua is indivisible penalty fixed at 40 years and cannot be altered during sentencing.
- Reclusión perpetua does not allow pardon or parole until after the first 30 years of the sentence have been served; after 40 years without pardon or parole, the sentence ends. Life imprisonment does not have any definite extent or duration of imprisonment, and prisoners serving life imprisonment can have parole at any time.
- Aquino, Ramon C. Revised Penal Code, Vol. I
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