How long is a life sentence

How long is a life sentence

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How long is life in person

Do you know how long is a life sentence is? A life sentence is a type of imprisonment where a defendant is required to remain in prison for 15 years for all their life.

In most of the United States, a life sentence meaning is a person who will be in prison for 15 years with the chance for parole. It can be confusing to hear a man sentenced to life, but after 15 years they will be free.

What is a life sentence

Depending on the state’s law, a defendant will be eligible for parole after a set number of years like 20,25 or 40. This is the life sentence length of a prisoner.

A defendant who has served the minimum number of years in a sentence can apply to parole for release. A defendant who had not received a life without parole cannot apply for release.

What does life in prison mean

The reason this happens is that in some cases the defendant is allowed to live the rest of their sentence on parole. The meaning of Parole is when a prisoner is released into the world temporarily or permanently on account of their good behavior.

The severity of a crime determines whether a man or woman could be sentenced to life without parole and would be in prison for the remainder of their life.

Life imprisonment

It means the whole life in prison. The prisoners who commit crimes have to end their life in prison and they don’t have any options of release. According to the supreme court, The word imprisonment means it is a jail term for the prisoner for entire life.

  • There will be no release before 14 or 20 years of life imprisonment.
  • The prisoner has no right to release.
  • The period of life imprisonment cannot be decreased. It cannot be less than 14 years.

Types of imprisonment

  • Mandatory imprisonment– When any person commits a crime it becomes mandatory to give punishment for that crime they committed because if the person is left with no punishment he will become dangerous to society and it harms the whole public.
  • This is the reason criminals are not kept outside the society after they commit any crime they have to face imprisonment.
  • Maximum sentences– The person who commits crime and they will get life imprisonment and the duration of life sentence is decided by a court of law. The minimum life imprisonment for prisoners is 14 years but it can increase upto 30 years of life imprisonment.
  • Minimum life imprisonment– The minimum life imprisonment for offenders is for 14 years. It is decided and judged by the Supreme Court of India.
  • False imprisonment– Many times people caught by the police without doing any crime and get imprisoned because of false crime.

Purpose of Imprisonment

There are five purposes of how long is a life sentence:

  • Punishment: when any person commits a crime, then the person is punished by a court of law. Then they were put in jail and deprived of all their freedom and removed from their society.
  • The punishment can change the person into a good person and return their freedoms and also give them a chance to live freely in society with their family members. So punishment is important for every criminal.
  • Deterrence: it is another type of punishment for the offenders so that they can’t repeat their crime again because punishment teaches values to the prisoners and gives them an opportunity to change themselves and transform them into good citizens.
  • Public protection: when any person commits a crime like murder or rape. They have to face life imprisonment as charged by the judge. So this is the only reason the public can be protected from these criminals.
  • Rehabilitation: It means when a prisoner accepts the crime he has committed and takes necessary steps to change themselves in that case. Government chooses to give them opportunities to change.
  • No other choice: The prisoner after committing the crime will have no choice of release; they have to face imprisonment.

How many years is a life sentence

For life imprisonment, years are not fixed. Sometimes it is for the prisoner’s whole life also. Because of life imprisonment, the prisoner can get the death penalty if he or she committed horrible crimes such as rape and murder.

The Supreme court has announced double imprisonment for the prisoners who committed horrible crimes.

How long is a life sentence in prison

There will be no uniformity in life imprisonment. It is for 14 years or it may last for 25 years. The time depends upon the type of crime committed by the prisoner. He has no right to release. But the minimum limit is 14 years.

Advantages and disadvantages of life imprisonment


  • If a person commits a heinous crime like rape or murder. It gives a serious impact on the life of victims and their families because of this their lives get destroyed. So accused get life imprisonment or death sentence.
  • Life imprisonment can give a chance to criminals to change their lives by realizing their mistakes. So that their life imprisonment can be pardoned.
  • Prisons give a chance to the prisoners to study and explore themselves in good works. In this way, they can change the prisoner to release them from prison.
  • Many prisoners get released of their good chance and they are allowed to live in a society with a job and can earn something for their own lives and change their family’s life.


  • Life imprisonment cannot be given to prisoners for capital punishment because they were not only responsible for the crime.
  • Capital punishment is the way they can pass some messages to the normal individual.
  • This capital punishment help to remove dangerous criminals from society making it a safer place for the people.

Difference between women and men prisoners

Women prisoner Men prisoner
Women’s prison- 84% Men’s prison- 76%
Offenses- theft, involved in drug trading Offenses- robbery, sexual offenses, fraud, drugs
Sentenced woman- 22% Sentenced men-12%
80% theft of shoplifting Because many reasons

Life imprisonment in India

Under article 72 and 161 CrPc the meaning of life imprisonment is the entire life in prison which is guaranteed under the code of criminal procedure.

The duration for life imprisonment is 14 years. The culprit will be punished according to their crime and it will be judged and decided by the court.

How many years is life in prison

For serious crime like murder and rape, culprit will get death sentence and there will be no pardon of life imprisonment and death sentences. This decision was taken by the supreme court of India in 2012.

Life imprisonment is not limited; it can be extended up to 25 years. Prisoners will not have authority to claim regarding their release from the prison and their family.

The constitution of India has mentioned some rules and regulations regarding life imprisonment and life sentence :

  1. Life imprisonment is 14, 20 or 25 years.
  2. It can be increased throughout their whole life.
  3. It can go till the end of life.
  4. After the life imprisonment prisoner has to face all the circumstances.
  5. They don’t have authority to claim for release.
  6. Life imprisonment cannot be pardon

Life imprisonment in the United States

We are going to explain life imprisonment in the United States.

In Georgia, there are two types of life sentences. They were a.) Life without parole b.) With the possibility of parole. The minimum mandatory life imprisonment for a prisoner without parole is 25 years.

This is for the first time offenders and for the second time offenders there is no minimum of 25 years of serving.

Life imprisonment in the UK

Life imprisonment lasts till the death of the prisoner. But in many cases, prisoners are given “early release”. Which is equivalent to parole in the United States.

Life imprisonment is given to offenders who committed crimes. Sometimes the court will give life to those convicted of rape and armed robbery.

Early release can be considered after the prisoner was in imprisonment for 15 to 20 years. If he is given parole, then he is effectively on parole for the remainder of his life.

If the prisoner does any wrongdoing, he will be back to serve the remainder of their life.

Life imprisonment in Canada

In Canada, murder can be first or second-degree. In both cases, prisoners are given life imprisonment. Unlike the united states, a prisoner can ask for parole depending on the type of murder they are committed.

In case of first-degree murder, the prisoner is eligible for parole after he has been serving out 25 years of their life sentence.

In the case of second-degree murder, the prisoner is eligible only after serving at least 10 years and not more than 25 years.

Life imprisonment in Australia

Unlike the united states, here the death penalty is considered to be a harsh sentence. Life imprisonment is given to serious criminal prisoners such as murder, sexual assault, trading drugs, and others.

Much like the US, Australia has different variations of life imprisonment across its different territories.

As of now, mandatory life imprisonment is eradicated in Victoria, Tasmania, West Australia. In victoria, the minimum parole is after serving 30 years.

But in territories such as South Australia, Queensland, life imprisonment is mandatory. Here the minimum period a prisoner has to serve the sentence is 20 years.

Life imprisonment in South Africa

In South Africa, life imprisonment is given to violent offends such as premeditated murder, gang rape, when the victim is underage who commits rape. In the case of murder, the life sentence length is 25 years.

In the case of rape, the life sentence is 15 years and in the case of robberies and hijackings, the sentence is 10 years. Parole is granted to prisoners only after serving minimum life sentence length in South Africa.


Here we complete the post about how many years is life in prison. We also gave detailed information about life imprisonment in various countries. Depending upon the severity of the crimes the prisoners may or may not have parole.