Encyclopedia > Life imprisonment

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Life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is a term used for a particular kind of sentence of imprisonment. The effect of such a sentence varies between jurisdictions. Life imprisonment is regarded by many as a humane alternative to the death penalty for the most serious crimes.

Different interpretations of the term "life imprisonment"

  • In the United Kingdom it does not mean, as one might expect, "imprisonment for life", but a prison sentence of indeterminate length. In many cases the Home Secretary sets the "tariff", or length of term, for prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment.

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