Australian Institute of Criminology

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The Meaning of 'life'

a study of life sentences in Australia

Arie Freiberg and David Biles
ISBN 0 642 93538 6

Download report (pdf 3MB, 174 pages)


This study arose from the need to clarify, both in the minds of those administering the criminal justice system and those undergoing life or purportedly equivalent sentences, what is meant by the 'life' sentence. When a prisoner is sentenced to 'life' his first question would probably be 'how long is life?'.