A life sentence is a type of imprisonment where someone accused of a crime is required to spend the rest of their natural life in prison until they are let out on parole. Technically a life sentence means the defendant is required to live out 15 years of imprisonment before probation. If the defendant is accepted for parole, they will be able to live out the rest of their life sentence outside of the prison walls. In this case, they would also be supervised and carefully watched while outside the prison walls.
Why Does a Person Get Multiple Life Sentences?
Since a life sentence is technically 15 years and then parole, if someone is given multiple life sentences, they have to live out all of their life sentences before they can be let out on parole. So if someone were given two life sentences, they would have to live out 30 years in prison before probation. While a life sentence usually means 15 years, the parole board makes the final decision whether the prisoner is ready to be released.
What is Life Without Parole?
Life without parole is when a person is required to spend the rest of their natural life in prison. Because probation is out of the question, in this case, the 15 years don't apply. Instead, they really do spend life in prison.
Crimes involving drugs, violent actions, firearms, theft (usually when stealing something of high value,) and repeat offenses are the most common crimes involved in life without parole. If someone has been given a sentence of life without parole, it's usually because of a severe crime or because the prisoner has repeated a crime they were incarcerated for in the past.
How Does the Parole Board Decide Whether or Not to Release a Prisoner?
When a person has completed their sentence, a Commissioner of the United States Parole Commission will make the decision on whether or not the prisoner is ready to be released. They will make this decision after reviewing the hearing recorded that was made by the Hearing Examiner.
Only prisoners granted the chance for parole during sentencing will be given a parole hearing before they are eligible for a parole hearing. They must have served at least the minimum term of incarceration. However, there are some cases in which a prisoner may be allowed a parole hearing before their sentence has been completed. Still, there will never be a case where a prisoner is allowed to be released on parole before their sentence has been completed.
It's crucial that you realize that a prisoner is not automatically released after their parole hearing. They are only released if the parole board finds them suitable for release. Some prisoners never get the opportunity to be released, while others have several hearings before the parole board finds them suitable for release.
When a parole hearing has scheduled the prisoners next of kin will be notified by the Commission or Bureau of Prisons. They will do this by phone, email, or message.
Is it Legal for a Minor to Get a Life Sentence?
In 2011 the Supreme Court of The United States made a law banning the sentencing of a minor to life without the chance of parole (except for by committing intentional homicide.) They felt as though sentencing a juvenile to life without parole violated the 8th Amendment. This Amendment forbids cruel or unusual punishment for crimes. The United States determined that minors shouldn't be given life without parole because of their young age. But, this law wasn't in place until 2011, which is why young men and women are being released from prison after they were previously sentenced to life without parole.