Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952514 | Print ISBN: 9780761927310 | Online ISBN: 9781412952514 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Life without Parole
Connie Stivers Ireland
The term “life without parole,” sometimes called “LWOP” or “natural life,” refers to a sentence of confinement in state or federal prison that lasts for the duration of an offender's life. A sentence of life without parole is generally given in instances of particularly serious crimes or in cases where the offender has a history of serious criminal activity. As opposed to other possible criminal sanctions, the primary goal of a sentence of life without parole is complete incapacitation. While the concept of life without parole suggests that the offender will spend the rest of his or her life in prison, each jurisdiction implements this sentence in different ways (see Table 1 ). In some places, “life without parole” means that a certain number of years, as few as 10 years in Idaho and Montana or as many as 55 years in Indiana, must be served before the offender can ...