All about life imprisonment, the most severe sentence that can be passed in the UK and the ways in which the system tries to deal with dangerous and high-risk offenders - by a prison governor and psychologist with long experience of working with such people.
One of the most contentious and sensitive topics in criminal justice, Life after Life Imprisonment looks at the release and resettlement of life-sentenced offenders in England and Wales - where there are very few prisoners in the system for whom 'life' means life. By providing an in-depth analysis of the post-prison experiences of 138 discretionary life-sentenced offenders, all of whom were released during the mid-1990s, this book looks at the reality facing Lifers as they are released at some time during their sentences, usually on very long licences, to be closely monitored and supervised by probation officers. Using accessible and comprehensive data, it examines key legal developments within the criminal justice system for discretionary life-sentenced offenders, explores the frontline experiences of the probation officers charged with supervising life-sentenced offenders, and analyses the 'stories' or life narratives of a group of individuals who have committed some of the most serious crimes. It also examines the process of recall for life-sentenced prisoners and explores key factors associated with failure in the community. Of interest to legal scholars and criminologists, as well as practitioners in the field, Catherine Appleton's book offers a major insight into how societies respond to serious crime and identifies important elements of successful reintegration for released life-sentenced offenders.
Life imprisonment has replaced the death penalty as the most common sentence imposed for heinous crimes worldwide. Consequently, it has become the leading issue of international criminal justice reform. In the first survey of its kind, Dirk van Zyl Smit and Catherine Appleton argue for a human rights–based reappraisal of this harsh punishment.
In many jurisdictions today, life imprisonment is the most severe penalty that can be imposed. Despite this, it is a relatively under-researched form of punishment and no meaningful attempt has been made to understand its full human rights implications. This important collection fills that gap by addressing these two key questions: what is life imprisonment and what human rights are relevant to it? These questions are explored from the perspective of a range of jurisdictions, in essays that draw on both empirical and doctrinal research. Under the editorship of two leading scholars in the field, this innovative and important work will be a landmark publication in the field of penal studies and human rights.
One out of every ten prisoners in the United States is serving a life sentence—roughly 130,000 people. While some have been sentenced to life in prison without parole, the majority of prisoners serving ‘life’ will be released back into society. But what becomes of those people who reenter the everyday world after serving life in prison? In After Life Imprisonment, Marieke Liem carefully examines the experiences of “lifers” upon release. Through interviews with over sixty homicide offenders sentenced to life but granted parole, Liem tracks those able to build a new life on the outside and those who were re-incarcerated. The interviews reveal prisoners’ reflections on being sentenced to life, as well as the challenges of employment, housing, and interpersonal relationships upon release. Liem explores the increase in handing out of life sentences, and specifically provides a basis for discussions of the goals, costs, and effects of long-term imprisonment, ultimately unpacking public policy and discourse surrounding long-term incarceration. A profound criminological examination, After Life Imprisonment reveals the untold, lived experiences of prisoners before and after their life sentences.
**Winner of a Koestler Trust Silver Award*** and the only book of its kind by a serving lifer. Contains a Foreword by Tim Newell, former Prison Governor life-sentence expert. A snapshot of the most severe sentence available in the UK which treats key topics in 40 easy to read sections. Alan Baker's personal selection and treatment of topics of concern to life-sentenced prisoners looks at subjects across the life-sentence regime. Ranging from the realisation which 'kicks in' after being sentenced in the dock-shock, numbness, hopelessness-to the intrinsic nature of long-term imprisonment, it is an explanatory handbook and survivor's guide. Life Imprisonment looks at aspects of long-term imprisonment from inside the head of a lifer: daily preoccupations, the uncertainty about when he or she will be released, the long years ahead, time for reflection, work towards release, setbacks and coping mechanisms and staying out of trouble. It tells about how a life sentence leads to risk assessments, courses, reports, psychological tests and possibly a period in a therapeutic community and/or a resettlement prison. To this first-hand knowledge, Alan Baker adds his thoughts on the state of the prisons, having experienced first-hand the impact that the justice system has on have on someone serving a sentence with no fixed end date. The result is a book packed with useful information as well as an insider's perspective on the major concerns of life-sentenced prisoners, whether about their sentence, future, their victims or the (often greatly magnified) minutiae of prison life. Review 'A hard-hitting set of survival notes from someone writing with great experience of having walked the walk. It is grounded in reality ... Alan Baker writes with sound practical advice and insight which is not for the feint-hearted. He takes prison seriously, recognising it as the place you don't want to be' Tim Newell (From the Foreword).
Little is known about life imprisonment and the process of releasing offenders back into the community in Ireland. Addressing this scarcity of information, Griffin’s empirical study examines the legal and policy framework surrounding life imprisonment and parole. Through an analysis of the rationales expressed by parole decision-makers in the exercise of their discretionary power of release, it is revealed that decision-makers view public protection as central to the process. However, the risk of reoffending features amidst an array of other factors that also influence parole outcomes including personal interpretations of the purposes of punishment, public opinion and the political landscape within which parole operates. The findings of this study are employed to provide a rationale for the upward trend in time served by life sentence prisoners prior to release in recent times. With reform of parole now on the political agenda, will a more formal process of release operate to constrain the increase in time served witnessed over the last number of decades or will the upward trajectory continue unabated?
Murder is often regarded as both the 'ultimate' and a unique crime, and whereas courts are normally given discretion in sentencing offenders, for murder the sentence is mandatory – indeterminate imprisonment. Since the crime and the punishment come as a 'package deal' this book looks at both the legal nature of the offence and at the current operation of the mandatory life sentence. Not only does the book adopt a critical approach, by assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the status quo, it also draws upon comparative material from both common and civil law jurisdictions in an attempt to provide a comprehensive exploration of these issues. The need for public confidence in the criminal justice system is particularly acute in the way it deals with the most serious homicides. In this book the authors report findings from the first systematic exploration of public attitudes to sentencing murder in this or any other common law jurisdiction. The picture of public opinion emerging from this recent large-scale nationwide qualitative and quantitative survey, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, is likely to surprise many, and will be of interest to all jurisdictions where the mandatory life sentence for murder has been questioned.
Homicide by Great Britain. Parliament. House of Lords. Select Committee on Murder and Life Imprisonment