The challenges and needs of people serving long life sentences from a young age
Why read this evidence review?
In recent decades, a clear legislative trend has emerged towards increasingly long minimum tariffs for people serving life imprisonment in England and Wales. However, little is known about the short- and long-term effects of long periods of confinement in prison.
This evidence review provides an in-depth look at the specific challenges and needs of the significant number of people already serving long life sentences from a young age in England and Wales. The authors of this report are the joint architects of a major research study into the experiences of people serving these sentences in England and Wales, a study described by one reviewer as “the deepest empirical look at adaptation and survival in long-term imprisonment for over forty years.”
This review covers a wide range of issues including:
- The sentencing context and the growing numbers of people serving long life sentences
- The impact of life imprisonment for murder on people sentenced at a young age
- The broad ‘stages’ experienced during such long life sentences
- The challenges of ‘uncertainty’, in terms of the lack of a fixed release date
- The particular needs and challenges for women serving life sentences
- Suggestions for how to respond to the specific needs of long-term life sentenced prisoners.
An online evidence base for the voluntary sector working in the criminal justice system
This article forms part of a series from Clinks, created to develop a far-reaching and accessible evidence base covering the most common types of activity undertaken within the criminal justice system. There are two main aims of this online series:
- To increase the extent to which the voluntary sector bases its services on the available evidence base
- To encourage commissioners to award contracts to organisations delivering an evidence-based approach.
Each article has been written by a leading academic with particular expertise on the topic in question. The topics are selected by Clinks’ members as areas of priority interest. Clinks intends to build a comprehensive directory of the best evidence available across a wide range of criminal justice topics within the next three years (2020-2023). The online evidence base is co-ordinated by Russell Webster on behalf of Clinks.
Want to find out more about this topic?
Part of the 'A matter of fact: what the evidence tells us' series, to accompany our Evidence library, Clinks is giving you the chance to hear from the experts themselves. Dr Serena Wright and Dr Susie Hulley presented the latest findings of their research on men and women serving life sentences in prison from an early age in October 2021.
Watch the video recording below: