Life Sentence

"Life Sentence" redirects here. For the Epicure EP, see Life Sentence (EP).

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 jail for the rest of his or her life or until paroled. Examples of crimes for which a person could receive this sentence include murder, severe child abuse, rape, espionage, high treason, drug dealing, or human trafficking, or aggravated cases of burglary or robbery resulting in death or grievous bodily harm.

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 (that is, 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 (e.g., 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.

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

In 2011 the United States Supreme court 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]

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 which 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 U.S. 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 June 25, 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 which 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

Reform or abolition

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 Portugal, which sets the maximum sentence at 25 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 Portuguese rule. 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

Summary by country

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
Afghanistan Yes Never None Yes Murder, terrorism, violation of Islamic law Treason, drug trafficking Yes By President
Albania Yes, but 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 or never Maximum 30 years for all women No Murder, terrorism Collaborating with Azerbaijani armed forces, treason  ?? By President
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 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 Never None No Murder, terrorism Drug trafficking Yes By President
Belarus Yes 25 years None  ??  ??  ?? Maximum 15 years By President
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 (Except in wartime) 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 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
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 Yes, but only when tried as adult, with lower parole eligibility date. Compassionate release and pardon by minister of justice
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 40 years or never 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
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
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 By President
Cyprus Yes 20 years None  ??  ??  ??  ??  ??
Czech Republic[19] Yes 20 years 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 Yes 12 years, or never None[20] Yes  ??  ?? Maximum 15 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 Never 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.[21] Maximum length 10 years Pardon by president[22]
Finland Yes 12 years for court release, any time for presidential pardon[23] 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 Yes 18–22 years, 30 years, or never None Yes, but only if decided by court at sentencing None Aggravated murder, aggravated torture, treason, terrorism, drug trafficking, crimes against humanity, war crimes, rape under 16: max. 20 years imprisonment By president, with countersignature from Prime minister and ministry of justice
Germany Yes 15 years None No Aggravated murder, genocide resulting in death, crimes against humanity resulting in death, war crimes against persons resulting in death See details 10 years By Federal President or Minister-President
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 Yes Individually set by judge None Yes Murder  ?? Must have minimum term set By Chief Executive of Hong Kong, under the recommendation of Long Term Prison Sentences Review Board
Iceland Yes 16 years None Yes None Treason, murder, kidnapping and grand and/or repeated theft. Maximum 10 years By President
India Yes 14 years or never; individually set by judge None Yes Murder, rape, robbery Kidnapping, electricity theft Yes May be pardoned by President or have sentence commuted by Government
Indonesia Yes Never None Yes Murder, terrorism, kidnapping, rape, treason  ??  ?? By President
Iraq Yes Never None No Murder, terrorism Drug trafficking Yes By President
Ireland Yes 12–30 years or never; individually set by judge None Yes Murder, treason, some serious injuries, etc. see details See details  ?? By President
Israel Yes 13–30 years or never None Yes Murder, terrorism Kidnapping child with intent to murder Yes By president usually after 30 years
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 Yes 10 years or never None Yes Varies by prefecture (Murder) Death sentence due to foreign aggression Yes By Emperor
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 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
Lithuania Yes 25 years None Yes Murder, terrorism  ??  ?? By President
Luxemborg Yes 15 years None Yes Murder, treason Terrorism  ?? By President
Macau No Varies, depending on sentence 25 years (30 in exceptional circumstances)[24] No No life imprisonment sentence No life imprisonment sentence  ?? No life imprisonment sentence
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
Mexico No (exception of Chihuahua) Varies, depending on sentence 60 years (70 years if convicted of murder involving kidnapping) No[25] No life imprisonment sentence No life imprisonment sentence  ?? No life imprisonment sentence
Morocco Yes Never None No Murder, terrorism, treason Drug trafficking and manufacturing Yes By King / Queen
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 Yes 10 years, 17 years, 20 years, 30 years or never; individually set by judge None Yes Treason Murder, 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[26] None Yes  ??  ?? No life imprisonment sentence  ??
North Korea Yes Never None Yes (de facto and de jure) Murder, espionage, treason  ?? Yes By president
Northern Cyprus Yes Never; Only pardon by President None Yes Murder, Drug trafficking, terrorism, treason Espionage, war crimes, mutiny, desertion Maximum sentence for murder is 24 years; only terrorism related cases Pardon by president; requires counter signature from Prime Minister and Minister of Justice
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
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 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 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[27] 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[28] Under 18: max. 20 years imprisonment[29] 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 Yes, but only for men between 18 and 65 years. 25 years 25 years imprisonment or 30 years in special circumstances for all women and men above age 65 No No See details under 18: max. 10 years imprisonment By President
Saudi Arabia Yes Never None No Apostasy Homosexuality, witchcraft, adultery, fornication Yes By King
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 Yes 25 years None Yes Murder, terrorism, treason Crimes against humanity, war crimes under 14: no imprisonment
14-17: max. 15 years imprisonment[30]
By President
Slovenia Yes 25 years None Yes Murder, treason Terrorism, drug offenses, crimes against humanity  ?? By President
Somalia Yes Never None No Murder, rape, robbery Sodomy, adultery, crimes against humanity Yes By President
South Africa Yes 10, 15, or 25 years None No Certain murder, rape and robbery  ??  ??  ??
South 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 No Varies, depending on sentence 40 years No No life imprisonment sentence No life imprisonment sentence  ?? No life imprisonment sentence
Syria Yes Never None No Murder, political crimes, terrorism, treason Drug offenses Yes By President
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, endangering public health by spread of contagion or poison, disloyalty when negotiating with foreign powers, dealing with anti-personnel mines or chemical or nuclear weapons, treason and (in wartime only) mutiny, insubordination, undermining the will to fight, desertation, unauthorised capitulation, negligence of war preparations and negligence of battle duty[31] under 21: no life imprisonment By the District Court of Örebro.
Switzerland Yes 10 years or 15 years; individually set by judge None Yes None Aggravated murder,[32] aggravated hostage-taking,[33] genocide,[34] endangering the independence of the country[35] under 15: no imprisonment
15-17: max. 4 years imprisonment[36]
By Federal Assembly (Parliament)[37]
Republic of China (Taiwan) Yes 25 years
10–20 years before 30 June 2006
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
Tunisia Yes Never None No Murder, terrorism Drug trafficking Yes By President
Turkey Yes 30 years, 36 years, 40 years, or in cases of terrorism, never 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
UK: 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 under 21: no whole life tariff Compassionate release and pardon by Secretary of State for Justice; amnesty by Royal decree alone or with Act of Parliament (last amnesty in 1747).
UK: 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 alone or with act of parliament
UK: Northern Ireland Yes Individually set by judge None No[38][39] Murder, Rape Robbery  ?? General release through a referendum based agreement in 1998 (became applicable in 3 cases i, ii, iii)
Ukraine Yes 25 years None No Murder with aggravating circumstances  ?? Maximum 15 years By President
United States Yes 15 years minimum to infinite, or never (depending on crime and state) None Yes Varies by state Varies by state Yes (see above) By president or governor of a state (depending on jurisdiction)
Uruguay No Varies, depending on sentence 30 years No No life imprisonment sentence No life imprisonment sentence  ?? No life imprisonment sentence
Uzbekistan Yes, but 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
Vatican City No[40] 21 years, 26 years 30 to 35 years[40] No No life imprisonment sentence No life imprisonment sentence No No life imprisonment sentence
Venezuela No Varies, depending on sentence 30 years No No life imprisonment sentence No life imprisonment sentence ?? No life imprisonment sentence
Vietnam Yes 14 years or never None Yes (de jure)  ??  ?? under 16: max. 14 years imprisonment
16-17: max. 18 years imprisonment
By president

See also

Notes

External links

  • International perspectives on life imprisonment

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