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.
A life sentence (無期懲役 muki choueki in Japanese) is one of the most severe punishments available in Japan, second only to the death penalty.
Consisting of life sentence with the option of parole, a prisoner given a life sentence must spend at least 10 years in prison before they may have a chance at parole. But over the years the time spent in prison has become longer, and in 2010 and 2011 was about 35 years. According to the survey by Center for Prisoners' Rights in Japan, in 2011 there were 115 prisoners who had served over 30 years without parole. Ikuo Hayashi, Daisuke Mori and Hiroshi Ogawa are currently serving life imprisonment. The rate of re-offending for most released prisoners is low, and the popularity of the death sentence is generally attributed to retribution. Those who are against the death penalty are calling for alternative longer sentences, with more than 10 years before being able to get parole, or jyuu mukikei (重無期刑, an actual life sentence with no possibility of parole).
The Parole Board for England and Wales was established in 1968 under the Criminal Justice Act 1967. It became an independent executive non-departmental public body (NDPB) on 1 July 1996 under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. The Parole Board's role is to make risk assessments about prisoners to decide who may safely be released into the community on parole. Its chief executive is Claire Bassett.
The Parole Board must act in accordance with the type of sentence levied.