Life imprisonment in Ireland

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A life sentence in Ireland may last for the natural life of the convict. It is not necessarily "life imprisonment" in practice, as not all of the life sentence is generally served in prison custody. The granting of temporary or early release of life sentenced prisoners is a feature of the Irish prison system handled by the Minister for Justice and Equality.[1]

In deciding on the release from prison of a prisoner sentenced to life imprisonment, the Minister will always consider the advice and recommendations of the Parole Board of Ireland. The Board, as of 2007, will normally review prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment after seven years have been served; however, the sentencing judge can extend this to a maximum of 30 years or order that the prisoner is to spend the remainder of their life in prison.

Prisoners serving very long sentences, including life sentences, are normally reviewed on a number of occasions over a number of years before any substantial concessions are recommended by the Board.

The final decision as to whether a life sentenced prisoner is released rests solely with the Minister, and as such, the length of time spent in custody by offenders serving life sentences can vary substantially.

Mandatory sentence[edit]

Life imprisonment is the mandatory sentence in Ireland for murder or treason.

Possible sentence[edit]

Life imprisonment is a possible sentence in Ireland for assault causing serious harm,[2] possessing firearm or ammunition with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury,[3] aggravated robbery, possession of controlled drugs with intent to supply, rape resulting in death or serious injury, and possession of drugs with intent to supply.


  1. ^ "Types of sentences - Citizens Information Ireland". Retrieved April 8, 2014.
  2. ^ "Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, 1997, Section 4". Retrieved 21 February 2010.
  3. ^ "Offences Against the State (Amendment) Act, 1998, Section 15". Retrieved 21 February 2010.