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Life Imprisonment in Australia

NCJ Number
I Potas
Date Published
6 pages
The meaning of a sentence of life imprisonment varies substantially among different jurisdictions in Australia, and this variation may not be the most appropriate approach.
Life imprisonment is the most severe penalty now available in Australia, and, currently, about 5 percent of the total prison population in Australian correctional institutions are serving an indeterminate life sentence. However, the average term of incarceration for these prisoners is about 13 years. In Western Australia, a strict security life imprisonment sentence means that certain prisoners must serve at least 20 years of their sentence before they may be considered for release on parole. The meaning of a life sentence is different in other jurisdictions, however. Providing greater certainty in prison terms for the most serious offenses would probably be favored by the public. In addition, judicial officers would undoubtedly welcome greater flexibility in setting maximum sentences for crimes that are currently punishable only by mandatory terms of life imprisonment. 12 references.


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