Life imprisonment is the most severe penalty which can be imposed by the British courts for violation of the criminal law. Since the abolition of the death penalty in 1965 it has been the mandatory sentence for murder, as well as the maximum sentence for a number of other serious offences, inculding manslaughter, armed robbery, arson, rape, kidnapping and causing an explosion.l Since the Homicide Act 1957 the number of lifers in the prison system has steadily increased. There were 133 men serving life in 1957…
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