Add Your Idea

When given a Life Sentence it should actually mean LIFE!!!

Comment 4th July 2010

I believe that those who are given Life Sentences for the crime that they have committed should indeed have to serve life meaning that they die in prison.

Where is the justice in so many cases when you know a cold blooded killer will one day be allowed to roam the streets once more, as free as one of us.

That i believe is wrong. Dead Wrong. Murderers should never, ever be allowed to see the other side of a prison wall was convicted.

The House of Lords years ago, to strip the Home Secretary of the power to increase the length of time that murderers must serve before they can apply for parole. It seemed, on the face of it, an eminently sensible decision that will remove from politicians the temptation to chase votes by making effortless "tough-man" decisions to win the approval of the tabloid press. But there is more to this than initially meets the eye-for-an-eye.

Life imprisonment has always been something of a misnomer. The term came about at the time of the abolition of the death penalty. In the days when judicial hanging was still legal, it was common ­ where there were particularly mitigating circumstances ­ for those who had been found guilty of murder to have their death sentences commuted, by royal prerogative, to one of imprisonment for life. But since, by definition, this happened only to those with immensely extenuating circumstances, it happened that public and governmental sympathy was such that the offenders were often released after eight or nine years.

With the Murder (Death Penalty Abolition) Act of 1965, all sentences of hanging were replaced by mandatory life imprisonment. This one sentence covers all offences ­ from the sadistic torture of children to those crimes we now know as mercy killings. Which is why the "life" sentence takes as its guideline starting point imprisonment for 14 years, though this is routinely reduced to 12 years in cases of lesser seriousness and often extended to 16 years.

Yet it has a downside. The idea of a tariff evolved under a series of home secretaries in the Thatcher years. It has come to be seen as the "punishment, retribution and deterrence" element of the sentence. Once that is served, the only function of jail is to protect the public, so if offenders are at that point deemed to be of no danger to the community, they may be allowed to apply for parole.

The trouble here comes with those prisoners who insist that they are innocent. The Parole Board, in all its public policy statements, insists that it "can, and does, direct or recommend the release of prisoners who deny their guilt, where the level of risk they present to the public is acceptable".

But the rider at the end of that last sentence is often taken to mean, in practice, that continued protestations of innocence reveal the prisoner doesn't possess the remorse that is a precondition for parole. The result of that, as we saw only this month, can be that injustice is magnified, as it was in the case of Robert Brown who had his conviction quashed after 25 years in jail ­ the last 10 of which he could have avoided if only he had agreed to lie to the Parole Board and admit his guilt.

Why does this matter?

Because it will show that the Government are actually trying to protect the public and that they are going to make sure that people who commit these crimes are never able to hurt somebody again, and most people do think that Life in Prison should truly mean just that.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

Highlighted posts


Comment on this idea

Good idea? Bad idea? Let us know your thoughts.


Back to top
Add Your Idea