Should life really mean life?

I asked this question in a different category which more teenagers would answer in and I thought I may as well asked in a more "adult filled" category too.

I'm not 100% sure of the US way of dealing with criminals but in the UK when people are sentenced to "life" they aren't really being sentenced to life -they're sentenced to a shorter period of time e.g. 25years.

In Scotland, out prisons are getting so full criminals are getting out earlier than they're meant to - which to me is appalling but anyway...

Should life really mean life?

State your age and where you're from if possible!

(link to the other category I posted in - http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=Al1x6... )

17 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Yes, I think that Life Inprisonment should mean exactly that, Life! All the hard work that goes into getting a Criminal into prison should mean that they should serve all their sentence. Nowadays it's all "Life - Good Behaviour - 14 years - Back on the streets". I agree, appalling. It actually begins to annoy me, the whole System is messed up and getting worse. The prisons in England are getting more full and everyone wants more prisons, but noone wants one near them - which just makes me think like What?! I feel very much sorrow for victims of Rape and Murder when they know that their attacker will be out, and most likely come back to haunt them in years to come. The Government should have done something years ago, but it's probably too late now, just like Immigration. It's disgusting.

    Life is Life , not 20 years , thats 20 years.

    I'm 13 years old and from England.

  • 1 decade ago

    I worked in Saudi Arabia for several years and they may have got many things wrong but one thing I do know is that I could walk around with a wedge of money in my back pocket and know that it was almost certain to stay there.

    Unfortunately the UK is now being run to ruin by so called do gooders and is handcuffed by Brussels.

    Life should mean life after all the victims of those murdered have to endure a lifetime of misery.

    Carrying a gun or a knife should be an automatic 15 years with no parole. The same for drug dealers no matter how much they are carrying.

    Rapists should be castrated.

    Men who beat women should get at least 10 years.

    Those from a foreign land caught commiting an offence should serve time here and then be deported back to their homelands no matter where that is.

    Drink drivers should get a lifetime ban

    Basically if you don't want the consequences don't do the crime.

    As for prison overcrowding all I say is TOUGH they are there to be punished. If they are so overcrowded then run a shift pattern for the inmates and have a hot bed system.

    If things don't change in the UK soon then I can see people taking things into their own hands like that poor farmer who was defending his properrty but got locked up himself few years back. All he was doing was defending what is his. Those on his property should not have been there.

    50 East Midlands so that makes me old enought to know right from wrong.

  • 4 years ago

    Actually it depeds on the sentencing. From what I can understand when the DA puts in a 25 to life sentence, it means that the CONVICTED felon can expect a sentencing of anything between 25 years and life in prison. Basically 25 to life is usually what they say before the defendant is convicted. After he or she is convicted, the jury can 'advise' the judge as to what the sentence should be. The judge then takes the jury and the DA's sentences into advisement before the judge makes a ruling to how long the convicted person/s should stay in jail. So if the DA requests 25 to life it means that, s/he wants the convicted felon to be in jail for atleast 25 years and at most life in jail. The judge can go ahead and pick some random number like 44 and it will still be ok, but the judge can also pick a lower number if s/he feels that 25 is too much. It's all up to the preception of the judge, the jury, the DA and the defense. Usually convicted felons don't normally serve out their whole term. Usually only about a 1/3 or a 1/4 of their term is served in jail and the rest is what we call parole where they have to go and check in with a shrink and the police every so often. But life in jail usually means that they serve life unless parole is granted where then the convicted felon would serve out the rest of his or her sentence outside jail. But life without parole is usually when the felon cannot appeal for parole but can appeal the decisions. This is my interpretation of the life sentence. I may be right or wrong it really depends on so many factors, good behavior and the such. The death sentence is different because you get sent to prision and then death row, this process is so slow you can rot in prision/death row forever and never actually be killed. Usually inmates on death row die from the atrocious living conditions.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Age: Old

    Where: US

    It's the same here. 'Life' is reduced based on conduct and overcrowding. I personally don't think it that important to interpret a life sentence so literally. When the court system says 'life' we all understand that means 'a really long time' that MIGHT include the rest of your life. Some life sentences come with the qualifier, "without the possibility of parole", and that literally means life, so we do have a 'life' sentence, it's just not the same thing as the 'other' life sentence.

    The greater issue here is, why is prison overcrowding such a continuing and always escalating problem? The statistics suggest the number of people we incarcerate is always growing. Why is that? If we are shoving 'life' sentence prisoners out the door to make space for prisoners convicted of less serious crimes, doesn't that suggest we're doing something wrong? I would guess we're either incarcerating too many people or we're giving them too many reasons to break our laws.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I'm 42 from Australia. I am a firm believer that life should actually mean life. Here in Australia the sentences are fairly lenient and it makes me angry. I don't believe in capital punishment because a. it's too good & quick for some of the criminals & b. because there is a small chance that an innocent person could be put to death. If our laws were tougher and life meant life it would deter a lot of criminals. In some Asian countries where they do have tougher sentences people can walk down the street at night and not be afraid of getting mugged. They can let their kids go out and play and know they will be ok. It must be nice to feel like that. Life meaning life...bring it on I say!

  • 1 decade ago

    Law is pretty universal from country to country as most people are familiar with 'life' being meant up to a standard year commonly set for that culture and gender. For example if a caucasian criminal is sentenced to 'life' he or she will be staying in prison from 1st day arrival to the moment a parole, if allowable, is set in motion. It also is decided by life expectancy of the caucasian ethnicity, usually 77.? years for the average healthy non-smoking, non-drinking male and roughly 9-14 years later for the same but female of same ethnic background.

    But it is fairly consistent between states and countries that sentencing of life means anywhere between that 1st day and the average expectancy added to current age. If a guy or gal goes in at 20 and average life expectancy is 77 years old, then this person can be in prison till they reach 97, which is highly unlikely as justified by their crime, may not see the next day let alone next year !

    It is appalling criminals 'get out' released back into society without finishing their sentence but it is even more despicable when they deserved just a fine or slap on the wrist instead they are sentenced to time in prison where the wasting of taxpayers money is given a rude awakening ! Yet they still complain if not given a steak dinner and a television set in their 8 x 8 cells ! Can you believe that crap !

    I am in Ohio. USA and I am 42 years of age.

    sharing the light,

    Miss Erica Hidvegi

    Source(s): my pet peeve about the law in this country regarding drivers without a license (DWAL's) . . .is found below http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.jsp?articleId=28...
  • 1 decade ago

    Legally, you're missing the finer details of what's going on.

    Life normally has a set legal meaning (99 years in most places here in the States). So, a "life" sentence is a "99 year" sentence.

    Then, you may get our early for time served, probation, good behavior, blah blah blah. But that all comes after the fact. They ARE sentenced to life, but mitigating factors are then applied that reduce the actual time served after the sentencing.

    As an outside observer, we often only hear only the initial and the final calculations and not all the details and finer legal points that went on in-between to create the difference in the two.

    It is no different than sentencing someone to 20 years and then letting them out after 12 for whatever reason. Should we change EVERY legal sentence to mean exactly what it initially states and do away with reductions for any reason ever?

    Or, to see the same effect in a wholly different context...

    This is like saying to an employee "Your salary is $1000 per month!" But then you only pay them $682.17 because you take that original $1000 and subtract various state and federal income and social security taxes, health care, 401k contributions, etc, etc, etc. But *technically,* *legally* your base and reported salary is still $1000 per month, even if you only *receive* $682.17 per month in actualized monies.

    Normally, if you want "life" to mean "life," then you sentence to "life without parole." Just "life" is understood to meant that there is a possibility of parole. This would be the equivalent of saying "pay" versus "pay without taxes."

    We can talk about redefining life, but it already does come with a specific, clear, purposeful legal meaning most times. The meaning may seem disparate with reality to a layperson, but lay people aren't the ones in the courtrooms practicing law every day. To lawyers, the term "life" DOES carry a specific meaning that they can then work with.

    This is a situation where I say we let the professionals who deal with it handle how their own profession defines a thing and recognize and admit that--as outside lay people--we not only shouldn't try to have a say, but we shouldn't think we know better than they do about a thing we understand less about.

    (I'm not a lawyer, but I work in a profession in which outsiders are constantly wanting to redefine our workflows and terminologies to things they could understand easier, but that would make our jobs harder and less efficient.)

    Adult, Texas.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Life is a damn joke in the USA. Scumbags commit crimes and get sent to a country club prison filled with all the frills and thrills. Then they get out on an unsuspecting society. I know for a fact a pedophile was sent to up for a 25 to life sentence and was out in something like 2 years. She saw me and laughed.

    Source(s): Justice is a damn joke with liberals at the helm
  • 1 decade ago

    Yes, it should be what it says on the box.

    Not a proponent of capital punishment though. Our judicial system is not perfect therefore it is possible to convict an innocent man. It's a greater evil to kill an innocent man than to release a guilty one.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Life should mean life, i'd also bring back the death penalty, save us tax payers paying for a waste of space to live in prison.

    Age 24 from England

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